Menstrual-linked asthma

J Asthma. 1997;34(6):539-45. doi: 10.3109/02770909709055398.


This study was conducted to determine the occurrence of menstrual-linked asthma (MLA) in India in 100 consecutive female asthmatics in the reproductive age group. The patients were required to respond to a questionnaire concerning the relationship between their asthma and the menstrual cycle. Twenty-three patients had subjective perception of deterioration in symptoms of asthma in relation to the menstrual cycle. Ten patients from both groups were also required to maintain a daily peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) diary for 2 consecutive menstrual cycles. The mean total duration of illness in patients with MLA was significantly longer than in patients without cyclic exacerbation. Cough and breathlessness were also significantly more severe as was the disease. This was evidenced by the more frequent emergency room visits and hospitalizations in these patients. Menstrual-linked worsening of asthma was most common in the premenstrual week (17 patients), in 8 of these 17 patients, this phenomenon continued to occur during the menstrual week also. Interestingly, 1 patient complained of deterioration of asthma 2 days after menstruation was over. Such an observation is yet to be recorded. Fourteen patients reported an increase in symptoms with almost every cycle while 3 had worsening related to specific season only. Sixteen patients often required extra medication during the premenstrual and/or menstrual weeks. A significant association was also observed between severity of premenstrual syndrome and MLA. The mean PEFR values over 2 cycles revealed a significant fall in the morning as well as evening values in the premenstrual and menstrual weeks as compared to the midcycle week in patients with MLA. This fall was maximal in the premenstrual week. Such a fall was not observed in asthmatics without menstrual exacerbation of symptoms. MLA was detected in about a fourth of the female asthmatics in India and it appears to represent a more severe form of the disease. This study also documented that MLA was associated with an increase in airway resistance and was not simply due to an increased perception of symptoms during the premenstrual or menstrual weeks.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Cough / diagnosis
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Menstrual Cycle*
  • Middle Aged
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / complications
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Recurrence
  • Seasons
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors