Women and Allergy

Women and Allergy

An allergy is an abnormal reaction by the immune system to a normally harmless substance found in the environment.1 It is estimated that 30–40% of the global population is affected by allergies.2

The World Allergy Organization has indicated that complex allergies in women involving polysensitization, multiple organ involvement, and high morbidity are increasing, placing a higher burden on healthcare delivery services around the globe.3

Studies indicate there is a role for sex hormones in allergy and autoimmunity, leading to more females suffering from allergies after puberty than males. Women allergy sufferers often report more-severe symptoms and more admissions to the emergency department and hospital than men.4

  • Worldwide, 220–520 million people may suffer from a food allergy, and10–30% of the population is afflicted with allergic rhinitis.3
  • Food allergies affect more adult women than adult men.5
  • The prevalence of asthma and incidence of asthma exacerbations are consistently higher in women than men.6


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1Website [Internet]. [cited 2013 Mar 12] Available from: http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Allergies

2WAO Journal [Internet]. February 2012. [cited 2013 Mar 12] Available from: http://www.waojournal.org/content/pdf/1939-4551-5-2-20.pdf

3WAO White Book on Allergy 2011-2012: Executive Summary [Internet]. Available from: http://www.worldallergy.org/publications/wao_white_book.pdf

4Shah S. Hormonal Link to Autoimmune Allergies. Division of Science, University of Mumbai, Mumbai 400032, India; Received 23 April 2012; Accepted 9 July 2012. International Scholarly Research Network; ISRN Allergy; Volume 2012, Article ID 910437, 5 pages.

5Kelly C, Gangur V. Sex Disparity in Food Allergy: Evidence from the PubMed Database; Received 25 January 2009; Accepted 4 June 2009. Hindawi Publishing Corporation; Journal of Allergy; Volume 2009, Article ID 159845, 7 pages.

6Bondsa RS, Midoro-Horiutib T. Estrogen effects in allergy and asthma. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013 Feb;13(1):92-99.