Sex hormones in women, called oestrogens, can worsen allergic reactions, a study found. The study, conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, found that oestradiol (a type of oestrogen) enhances levels of activity for a chemical which drives life-threatening allergic reactions.

In experiments on mice, the researchers found that female mice experience more severe anaphylactic reactions than do males. The cause was determined to be the influence oestrogen has on blood vessels, helping to enhance the activity of an enzyme that helps cause anaphylaxis symptoms.

When researchers gave the mice oestrogen-blocking treatments, the severity of allergic responses were reduced to become on par with those seen in a control group of male mice.

The paper, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology concluded, “Women are more likely to suffer lethal allergic reactions because the female sex hormone makes the condition worse.”

The research could lead to new treatment options as this avenue is further explored, the researchers believe.

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