Does puberty interfere with asthma?

Med Hypotheses. 1997 Jan;48(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/s0306-9877(97)90020-7.


This study reviews whether, to date, scientific evidence exists that puberty interferes with the occurrence of asthma. This question was triggered by three points: (a) clinical experience with asthma as a relatively benign disease that children often 'grow out of'; (b) observations implying that asthma can change during fluctuations of sexual steroid hormones; and (c) knowledge that puberty is an age of deep hormonal changes. No scientific evidence was found that pubertal changes interfere with the occurrence of asthma. Nevertheless, there is a general agreement about the influence of age and sex on its outcome. The overall occurrence of the disease, which is highest in childhood, declines with age. In the wane phenomena, puberty does not seem to be more important than previous ages. Furthermore, the pattern of occurrence is different in the two sexes. Boys have more asthma before 10 years of age or the mid-teens. Girls then overtake boys and have more asthma up to the years of sexual maturity. During the fifth or sixth decade, asthma again seems to become slightly more prevalent in men than women, or at least the difference between the sexes disappears. It is concluded that the risk of asthma is not influenced by puberty. Age and sex seem to be more important factors, although the reason for this is unknown.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Puberty*
  • Sex Characteristics