(HealthDay News) – The frequency of respiratory symptoms, including wheeze, shortness of breath, and cough, varies throughout the menstrual cycle, according to a study published online Nov. 29 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

In an effort to examine menstrual cycle variation in respiratory symptoms, Ferenc Macsali, MD, from the Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, and colleagues surveyed 3,926 women with regular menstrual cycles of ≤28 days who were not taking exogenous sex hormones. Participants completed a postal questionnaire pertaining to the first day of last menstruation and respiratory symptoms in the last three days.

The researchers found that wheezing was higher on Days 10–22 of the cycle, falling mid-cycle around the time of putative ovulation in most subgroups. Shortness of breath was elevated on Days Seven to 21, falling just before mid-cycle in many subgroups. Just after putative ovulation, cough was higher for asthmatics, smokers, and women whose body mass index was ≥23 kg/m², while for low symptomatic subgroups, cough was higher just prior to ovulation and menses onset.

“Respiratory symptoms varied significantly during the menstrual cycle and were most frequent from the mid-luteal to mid-follicular stages, often with a dip near the time of ovulation,” Macsali and colleagues conclude. “These relations link respiratory symptoms with hormonal changes through the menstrual cycle and imply a potential for individualized chronotherapy for respiratory diseases.”

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