Oral contraceptives may benefit women with asthma

New research shows that during natural menstrual cycles, women with asthma who were not taking oral contraceptives (OC) had lower exhaled nitric oxide levels (eNO), a marker of airway inflammation associated with asthma, than women who were taking OC.

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, studied 17 women with asthma during their menstrual cycles. Results showed that individuals not using oral contraceptives (OC) had higher mean eNO levels than women using OC.

Furthermore, among women not using oral contraceptives, an increase in estrogen levels was associated with a decrease in eNO, while an increase in progesterone was significantly associated with an increase in eNO. Researchers speculate that OC may have a potential role in the management of premenopausal women with asthma.

This article is published in the November issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.



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