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AM I ALLERGIC TO MY PERIOD? THUMBS DOWN :(
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Georgia_Jules posted:
Hi, I'm a 34 y/o female, physically very fit and on no off-the-wall medications (Adderall as needed up to 40 mg/day and Dicloflenac when needed up to 150 mg/day), the ones I do take I do not take every day, I use them to manage symptoms of ADD and Rheumatoid Arthritis respectively. I developed mild psoriasis in the past year as well as getting an official RA diagnosis. I smoke many cigarettes and drink large amounts of soda, otherwise I eat well, exercise often, and am fantastically happy...so this upcoming health question is not a psychosomatic problem.

OK, here is what concerns me: For perhaps 5-6 months I have the worst case of sinus allergies at the onset of menstruation. For about 3 days every month I get to enjoy severe itching in nasal passages, watery eyes, constant and unsatisfying sneezing, sinus pressure and accompanying headache, congestion and the runniest nose. I had begun to schedule my life around my allergy time, it's so very unpleasant. Upon my pharmacist's advice I now take an antihistamine which effectively controls the symptoms; however I was too shy to discuss my period with him. But the burning desire for knowledge still lingers...

Why am I "allergic" to my period? I assume it's some type of autoimmune response since my body recently decided to become psoriatic to add to the drama of arthritis. Is it due to hormone fluctuation...am I allergic to a drop in progesterone? Are there natural (organic) foods I should add to my diet that can give my immune system a fighting (pun intended) chance? Am I alone in the world, or is this a common problem? I've asked every girl at work (I tend bar at a gentleman's club, every girl = 50+ people) and nobody has never heard of this. Should I eliminate something from my diet? I don't mind taking the Sudafed but would prefer not to put chemicals in my body...I figure the Camel Menthols and the Mountain Dew already fill my chemical additive quota. This is just so bizarre, so any tips are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Georgia_Jules,

This does sound like an odd concern and I'm so sorry that you are going through all of this. While I wasn't able to find any information pertaining to this type of allergy, I did find an article on Asthma and Allergies Possible Link to Periods .

Your best bet would to definitely speak with your doctor in order to find a diagnosis, treatment and hopeful relief. You may also want to post your question in our Women's Health Community . Hopefully, the expert and members there can give you some more feedback.

Wishing for you to find an answer and fast relief!
Amelia
The difference between an itch and an allergy is about one hundred bucks. - Anonymous
 
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1whippet responded:
Dear Georgia, I had the same problem as you being "allergic" to periods. The answer is yes & no. When you period is about to start there is a change in hormone level. Your doctor, GYN, should know about your changes. The change in hormone level is effecting your immune system, thus causing your nose to run, feeling like you have a cold. Ask your doctor what kind of antihistamine, etc., is right for you to take at this time. I would wash my nose & sinuses out with salt water, use an antihistamine, limit my time outside near any pollens. Eventually discovered allergy shots were a waste of $. I developed autoimmune system problems I control with Rx's. The reason why MEN never heard of this is they don't have periods or go thru menopause. Talk to a FEMALE GYN about this. Switch doctors if they tell you it is all in your head!
 
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Georgia_Jules replied to 1whippet's response:
Thank you, 1Whippet! My gynecologist IS a male, and he suggested that the company contracted to mow our lawns and do greenhouse work was using a lawn spray that caused an allergic reaction, which sounds feasible until I explained that my symptoms did not improve when I was at work (5.2 miles from home). Of course this is the same person who said my weird pain was all in my head, then admitted the mistake when I went to a family physician and tested positive for rheumatoid factor. You have no idea how much it helps just to know I'm not alone. I'll keep taking pseudoephedrine for the symptoms and likely won't pursue any shots. I wish more women were aware of this. But until a pharmaceutical company sees a market, gives it a name like "PMAS (pre-menstrual allergy syndrome)", runs tv ads with vague questions ("Do you have a vagina? Then you may be at risk!"), and pushes a new drug still in Phase III of trials and is a turbo-charged antihistamine whose side effects include temporary blindness and rapid hair loss...well, I guess women will just have to wonder what is causing their allergic responses each month. Thanks again!
 
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1whippet replied to Georgia_Jules's response:
Georgia_Jules, Thank goodness you are your own Activist in your health. Since you tested positive for rheumatoid factor, have you contacted the rheumatoid arthritis support group in your area? Please continue to document your sympthoms along side your menstrual cycles. Have any new things happened? Be sure to write it down. Yes, you may want to see a FEMALE GYN if your MALE doctor isn't listening to you. A lawn care company spraying the lawns, sorry, I KNOW that's not it. Sometimes doctors try to grasp onto what they know, discount all else. The drug companies are confused as not all women are the same in their cycles, hormones, lifestyles. Interestingly, my female cousin developed rheumatoid arthritis in her menopause & had to take Embriel (spelling?) We believe we inherited autoimmune system problems from our parents. Glad you don't feel alone in this.
 
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Georgia_Jules replied to 1whippet's response:
1Whippet, I went to a group once in Savannah, and I was initially alarmed that every person stricken with RA was female...or perhaps the males chose to "walk it off" and hope it goes away. They were awesome and really nice (helpful too) but I felt like a freak because no one else was near my age. I manage fine, I am on high dose Diclofenac oral only. I did take Prednisone with amazing pain relief but I also gained amazing weight, so I promptly sacrificed feeling well-ish for feeling prettier. I'm very lucky to have a husband who loves me since he's recently had to dress me during flares...I'm currently trying to find a funny way to tell him he'll also be doing my makeup (those brushes are sooo small on bad days!). Because you know, humor is often the best way to deliver any kind of news. I bought a lot of ballet flats and yoga suits since there are no shoelaces buttons or zippers to work with, I changed my career path completely (Pharmacist? Handling pills and tiny bottles? Compounding chemicals? No, thank you, it's virtually impossible. I have returned to college to get a Master of Communication Disorders and plan to be a Speech Pathologist...it requires minimal dexterity)

I'm thinking of starting a support group for women who have allergy-inducing periods, that way if some confused girl Googles her symtpoms she'll find a site that can ease her mind and offer helpful information. I'd like to speak with you about that.

My family is a picture of health, no one has anything more than a minor sporadic cold. No recessive genes, Dad is White Mom is Japanese. I have a sneaking suspicion that my autoimmune woes are the direct results of eating food made with GMO's...because when I noticed some strange stuff going on in my body (IBS symptoms, hives for no reason, pains with no reason, extreme fatigue, etc) I went back to eating organic and the weirdness decreased. Turns out organic can't be trusted since there is cross-pollination and liars. "Natural" as defined by the FDA does not mean what you think it does, seriously, look it up on their website. Anyway, once I started drinking soda again my body attacked itself, and I've had confirmation that the sweetener in Dew is made from genetically engineered corn. So you may want to take stock of what you eat, even if you always thought it was safe it may not be. Look, I make sure my dogs eat organic food and treats (Blue Buffalo Wilderness) and when they were boarded for 5 days last September when we went to Vegas, I forgot to bring their special food so they ate the crapple at the vet. Their coats were dull, one had dandruff like crazy, and one licked himself compulsively resulting in sores. And the white one had runny stains near his eyes and mouth....all within 5 days of eating second-rate food! So just think about what our foods do to us.

Embrel is often the first choice for physicians whose patients have reached a therapeutic plateau with their current treatment, by which I mean it is the Gateway Injectable as it is the first one used, followed by Humira and others. Since it basically inhibits your entire immune system you're likely to get at least one communicable disease, such as a respiratory infection. I've had several people "mysteriously" contract genital herpes or hepatitis B and hire a divorce attorney to get rid of their unfaithful spouse. It's not the spouse (usually). The patient has had the disease for some time but lost the ability to fight it off due to Etanercept. If your nausea is unrelenting after 1 week on it, get some Ginger root supplements (your RPh will show you where they are) and take them, they will temporarily stifle the nausea. For me, I will not take Embrel. I have enough problems and don't want a med to add to them.

I need to go now but stress that an online group for women with allergic reactions to their period.
 
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Georgia_Jules replied to 1whippet's response:
Almost forgot: You might want to check out ""Chang Han". It's a Chinese herb that targets specific cells and doesn't use a Scorched Earth approach to your immune ssystem, which is favorable. Just look, it's always nice to have options.
 
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ereed responded:
I love what an advocate you are re. thinking of starting your own support group, etc.

I think I get pretty sick right before my period, and not your normal PMS. My skin acts up (mild eczema), I get petechiae (little pinpoint bleeds under my skin, usually no more than 20 scattered separately over my body, and I feel like crap. Currently seeing very kind endocrinologist who is starting to help me figure out. My sometimes have high urine calcium when doing a 24-hour urine test, even on restricted fluid intake, and my active Vit. D metabolite is high (the 1,25 D) which is sometimes linked to granulomatous processes. But last time, this D was back down and urine was fine. I have a hunch that if we tested it throughout the menstrual cycle, we could get a better handle on whatever pathology is going on.

Anyway - I feel you on this one.

What really set off my symptoms about 3 years ago now was an accidental inhalation of particulate silicon dioxide (tiny pieces of glass) which I had put in my home (labeled organic!!) as a "safe" insecticide. I think my body reacted to the tiny pieces in my lungs, and now here I am having symptoms every period. Apparently kidneys are one of the most vascular organs (like joints) and I think the reaction to the stuff I breathed is triggered monthly and affects my electrolytes and stuff (calcium, potassium, which can also make you feel tired and all kinds of things).

I have a friend who recently quit smoking, and it sounds like hell, but I am sorry to say I don't think it can be understated that this could help you. Especially if it is your sinuses - some people are simply allergic (like me) to cigarette smoke. Allergies develop to things we weren't previously allergic to when our immune system is haywire. RA is said to be affected by smoking about as much as heart disease. Link: http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/news/20101213/smoking-raises-rheumatoid-arthritis-risk

Lastly, everyone told me there is no way this inhaled silica could have affected me. I think they are wrong for a few reasons. One, I don't think they realize how much it really was (used a non-HEPA vacuum to clean it up, and the s&*t went everywhere before I realized what a problem I had really created for myself). Two, each person's body is different. For instance, people with something called Marfan's Syndrome have more sensitivity to inhaled particles. I meet a lot of the criteria for Marfan's, but this is something no Dr. has ever volunteered for me / answered. This is something I have had to research the heck out of.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but hopefully the bearer of better health.

My best,
E
 
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minerva75 replied to Georgia_Jules's response:
Hi! Did you ever start an online group? I am 37 and I too have RA. I have recently had two severe allergic reactions (hives, swollen, lips) at onset of menstrual cycle. The last one landed me in the ER. You said you had hives for no reason. Did this also coincide with your cycle? I drink soda very sparingly, but I have the same suspicions as you about genetically modified foods, in particular, wheat. Starting tomorrow, I am giving it up to see if it changes anything. I would love any insight you may have found.
 
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thumpersammy responded:
Hi, this is my first time replying on webmd so not quite sure how this works but I hope you get this message. I found this board because I have always long suspected that right before my period started that my immune system weakened or something and then my allergy symptoms show up or worsen, but this isn't my main reason for replying!

After reading about your symptoms I immediately could see that you have a food intolerance and that most likely gluten and dairy are your culprits. If you cut them out you are likely to see your RA, ADD and psoriasis go away along with sinus infections and allergies in general. That's what happened to me. I thought a gluten-free diet was for kooks until I happened to have a day where I accidentally didn't have any gluten for a day and noticed that my stomach felt great at the end of the day, so a few months later I made the decision to go ahead and try a gluten and dairy free diet (I already knew I was dairy-intolerant but still ate it anyway) and I was amazed at what other ailments left me!
Now, you may have heard about celiac but if you go and get tested for celiac disease and show negative that does not put you in the clear for gluten ingestion. Gluten intolerance is very real and most people will not test positive for it. And, you don't have to show stomach pain for a food intolerance. Some only exhibit neurological problems, immune problems, etc. Good news is that you don't need a test to determine if it's something you should try. Just try it for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. For me, I was amazed to see months old eczema start healing 24 hours after starting the diet. Joint pain also disappeared within the first day! Even my PMS became super mild or nonexistent. This gluten stuff affects me in so many ways, hormonally, neurologically, etc. but it especially affects my immune system. Oh, and almost forgot to mention, the biggest symptom that left me was my migraine! Hallelujah! I had been avoiding MSG and diet drinks and nitrites and nitrates because I noticed that those things gave me a migraine but there were times when even though I had avoided those chemicals I still would get migraines and that was because of the gluten.

For many years I suspected I had ADD and now I no longer have those issues! I can concentrate now, I have a ton more energy, the positives go on and on and I realize new things that I no longer contend with all the time. Anyway, just wanted to let you know because I know I started seriously worrying about my health because year after year I would have a new ailment show up and I just chalked it up to aging and I foresaw a future full of prescription drugs and declining health but now that I've seen everything reverse I want to help as many people as I can realize that something as simple as a food intolerance can wreak havoc on your health and eliminating them can be a miracle for your body! You can look up RA and gluten, ADD and gluten, MS and gluten, depression and gluten, fibromyalgia and gluten, etc. It really runs the gamut! Also, leaky gut is part of the problem which may also be caused by the gluten. Look up leaky gut syndrome. That's why things like MSG would give me a migraine because the perforations gluten had caused in my intestinal lining was allowing tiny particles such as msg to cross the barrier into my blood stream. That's how you get RA. Things are getting through the barrier into the blood stream and settling into your joints. I do notice that I can tolerate more msg and the like after going gluten and dairy free. My leaky gut must be somewhat on the mend.
 
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jmena08 responded:
Hi Georgia,

I totally feel you. I just started noticing that every time I'm about to menstruate and out of sudden I feel sick, my sinus allergies are out of control it drives me crazy!!!! I just recently experience another allergy attack this wkend, and I took sudafed that didn't work! The same day I bought me benadryl and took sudafed at the same time that didn't work either. I used Afrin too to help me breath a little it just seemed like it was making it worse. The only thing that actually help me was Flucticasone Prop 50mg Spray. The next day I woke up like nothing had ever happen to me.

Well, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one either or the only experiencing this allergy attack before our menesturation starts. I also had mention it to my doctor before about me being allergic to my menstrual, he just looked at me like I was crazy. So, yeah! I guess he was the wrong person to ask.

So, I have you seen the doctor regarding this situation yet?
 
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Jamestori replied to jmena08's response:
I feel for all that have suffered attacks due to menesturstion. I have had all my anphalatic ( spell?) attacts the week of menesturation. For some strange reason hormones effect my allergies. I though i could be senisive to gluten ( wheat) but reecently discovered ( emergency visit) that whats causing my attacks is the salicylate ( plant base) in fruits, veg.

Salicylate intolerance can also cause joint and musle pain.

So now all i can eat is wheat, pasta, bread, rice......

So basicly these are the foods that are keeping me out of the hospital. But are causing me to gain weigh. . Possible ADD all the fun stuff that go along with wheat intake.

I am not sure what to do now!!!!! Obgyn confused. Allergist confused, Now i am eating all procesed wheat because i cant eat fruits and veg.

I am so fustrated. I know all this carb intake is bad for me in the long run but not sure what else to do ( eat)

Salicylate is the plants natural ability to fight off fungus.

Has anyone ever experenced anything like this?

I think GMO and chemicals is what messed up my system 8 years ago but now i need to know how to fix it, i cant possible continue to eat like this. Not even sure what type of dr to see now.

Fyi Saw 19 allergist anded up with bio idenitcal hormoney replacment ( saved my life) but still want to know what to eat. What caused in the first place. Am i stuck on bio for life? Will i ever beable to eat fruits and veg again? Do i put them back in my diet the weeks i am not menstrating? So scary!!!!! Dont want to end up back in emergency. Suggestions? ( why is there no spell check on web md) lol
 
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hopey73 responded:
I'm noticing the same pattern. About a day before my period every month, severe sinus reaction, which turns into wheezing and asthma at night. Been going on for about six months now.
I'm 40, and have experienced these attacks in 4 different states, so I don't think it's a product of where I live.
 
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lynncg replied to thumpersammy's response:
This is so helpful! I am going to try this.
 
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orapelloka replied to 1whippet's response:
That is nice to know. I've started realizing this myself recently. Do you know if there is anything you can do to calm the effects before you visit your doctor. Mines away on Maternity leave and won't be back until August, so until then I have to suffer through it.


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