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Menopausal Hay Fever Survival Guide: 6 Effective Relief Strategies

Itchy, watery eyes? Constantly sneezing? Hello, hay fever!

 

Here in deepest Kent, allergy season is in full gear. Trees are budding, and pollen is bursting forth. This triggers the inevitable increase in sneezing, itchy eyes, and fatigue from hay fever. Indeed, my lone day working in a pharmacy has seen a vast increase in sales and prescriptions of antihistamines.


allegies, pollen, hayfever

As women transition through menopause, they may find themselves facing not only hormonal changes but also they may experience new allergies and seasonal challenges like hay fever or notice changes in pre-existing conditions like asthma during this time.

 

Why?

 

During menopause, oestrogen and progesterone changes can impact immune cell activity, potentially increasing sensitivity to allergens like pollen.

 

Hay fever symptoms can be not just an inconvenience but also debilitating.

 

The Role of Histamine:

When exposed to allergens, the immune system releases histamine, which triggers inflammation and allergy symptoms.


Histamine may seem like the bad guy, but it is actually essential for the immune response. It is only at this time of year when the immune response becomes inappropriate that histamine release can become hyperactive, and excessive release can lead to symptoms like sneezing, itching, and nasal congestion.

 

Supporting immune function is crucial for managing hay fever effectively.

 

Immunity can be affected by many things.

  • The food we eat may not nourish it – vitamin C, zinc, vitamins A and D, and many others are vital nutrients.

  • We may lack antioxidant-containing foods (fruit and vegetables), which otherwise nourish and prevent damage.

  • Stress and our lifestyle can reduce immunity or drive an excessive response.

  • The integrity of our skin, lungs, and gut 'barriers' is essential for good protection, as are the natural bacteria that live upon them.

 

It might surprise you to know that changing what you eat can significantly impact the severity of your symptoms.

 

If you are struggling – I suggest using whatever products work for you and then start to tackle things this way;

 

1. Reduce the antigenic load.

 

It's unlikely that just pollen is involved, although that may well tip the balance. Chances are you are also reacting to environmental allergens and foods.

 

  • Look at reducing gluten and dairy intake for a few weeks to see if this helps.

 

2. Repair any barriers.


Allergies require your epithelial layers to be hyper permeable – most commonly gut permeability and skin, lung, and nasal mucosa.

 

Vitamin A, D, zinc, and glutamine are all critical nutrients that ensure that the tissue that lines these passages is as healthy as possible.

 

  • Vitamin A is found in sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, red and yellow peppers, apricots, peas, broccoli, dark leafy greens like kale, and romaine lettuce.

 

  • I would check your vitamin D levels and probably supplement so you are loitering around at least 50ng/ml.

 

  • Zinc is abundant in whole grains, dairy, seafood, and meat.

 

  • Glutamine is found in protein sources, so ensure that you eat protein for each meal. I encourage women to have the equivalent of 20gm at each meal, which can be challenging. The protein will also support your blood sugar balance, which is seriously inflammatory if your blood sugar yo-yos.

 

  • Marshmallow and slippery elm can help to restore the integrity of your gut. They both also have anti-inflammatory properties. Marshmallow can easily be found as a tea and slippery elm, either as a supplement or as a powder.

 

3. Repair the Microbiome

 

The microbiome plays an essential role in the immune system. 70% of our immune tissue is found in the gut. A healthy microbiome is essential for maintaining the integrity of epithelial tissue in the gut and reducing the opportunity for sensitisation to allergens.

 

Dysbiosis is an integral part of allergy issues.

 

  • Enjoy a diet rich in plant foods of different colours to support the microbiome.

 

  • Include probiotic foods – sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha to support your gut bacteria. This is one time when I think that a good probiotic can be beneficial – not those rubbish mini drink things you can get in a supermarket. Invivo, Optibac, Biocare, Nutriadvanced, and Lamberts are all good brands.

 

  • Vitamin C is an amazing antioxidant and boosts the immune system. It is also believed to help balance 'good' bacteria and 'bad' bacteria. It also helps break down histamine. Sources include citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables.

 

4. Replace any nutrient deficiencies.

 

This will follow naturally if you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, and protein. But also consider omega 3, which is important for cell function and anti-inflammatory. If you can, have oily fish twice a week; otherwise, flax, chia seeds, and walnuts are good sources.

 

Digestion also needs to be tip-top. Please read my blog on the gut microbiome for more suggestions.

 

5. Reduce Inflammation.

 

  • Minimise pro-inflammatory foods such as processed foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol.

 

  • Add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices to your meals, such as turmeric, ginger, rosemary, and cayenne pepper.

 

Lets talk about quercetin.


Quercetin is a naturally occurring flavonoid found in plant foods. Along with other flavonoids, quercetin has been shown to have antiviral, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-proliferative and anti-allergic effects. One of the most common reasons people turn to quercetin is to help with symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis (hayfever).

 

  • Quercetin is considered one of the most abundant flavonoids in the human diet. Some of the best sources of quercetin are apples, onions, berries, capers, red grapes, cherries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, red wine, black tea, and green tea.

  • Nettle tea is another option. It's known for its ability to relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching.

Reduce Stress

Increased stress, excess adrenalin, and cortisol floating are seriously detrimental to the immune system.

 

  • Build downtime into daily routine to reduce stress.

 

  • Sleep well - it's vital for allergy and asthma management. Without enough sleep, you compromise the immune system.


 

 

Conclusion:

Navigating hay fever symptoms during menopause may require a multifaceted approach that addresses immune health, inflammation, and allergen exposure.

 

By incorporating immune-supportive nutrients, reducing inflammation, and implementing practical lifestyle strategies, women can minimise hay fever symptoms and enjoy a more comfortable summer.

 

Remember to consult with a healthcare provider before adding supplements.


 

Please schedule a complimentary call with me to discuss your experiences. This conversation is an opportunity to explore your symptoms and the possible ways to manage them with absolutely no obligation. Remember, understanding and then addressing your symptoms is vital to finding relief and improving your daily life.


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