Seasonal allergies: Causes and solutions

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- There's no doubt about it - allergy season is here! Lots of things can predispose us to having allergies. Genetic background, environmental factors like air quality - a major concern in Arizona, a compromised immune system, but did you know that hormone imbalance also plays a role in allergies?

As a doctor specializing in internal medicine and hormonal health, I see women in perimenopause or menopause struggling with allergies, many for the first time in their lives. So what's going on? Quite simply, at a foundational level, estrogen deficiencies can exacerbate allergy symptoms and contribute to increased upper respiratory and sinus infections.

Estrogen plays a key role in our body systems, including our respiratory function. As we age, estrogen levels begin to fall, mucus membranes begin to thin out and dry up, and we begin to experience vaginal dryness. In turn, mucus membranes in the lungs also become thin and frail. This allows more allergens and infectious agents to enter our bodies through the dry, cracked layers and irritate our lungs and sinuses. Voila, allergies!

There are many over the counter and prescription medicines that contain nasal steroids and moisturizing agents or natural therapies like neti pots that can help control the symptoms, but they don't address the root cause. If you're in perimenopause or menopause, you're probably already experiencing other symptoms of estrogen deficiency, like hot flashes, night sweats, mood disorders, vaginal dryness, urinary tract infections, and memory loss or brain fog. Increased allergies are just the cherry on top.

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may help ease these and other undesirable symptoms like allergies, and get you back on track. Get your hormone levels checked, and find out if HRT can help you.

Dr. Angela DeRosa is a nationally recognized expert in the field of Internal Medicine and Women's Health. DeRosa Medical has locations in Scottsdale, Sedona and Chandler. For more information, call 480-619-4097 or visit