Allergic rhinitis sex shift

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis sex shift

It is well documented that certain medical conditions affect men and women differently. It even sometimes occurs more in one than the other depending on the issue. This is obvious in certain circumstances; such as breast cancer primarily affecting women even though there is a growing awareness of it in men too. As a whole, medical afflictions of all natures can have differing effects on both men and women. This includes asthma, allergic reactions, and potentially allergic rhinitis too.

Boys vs girls

Interestingly, not only can this manifest in different ways between men and women, but something curious happens in children. It affects those suffering from asthmas, allergies, and allergic rhinitis when they develop through puberty and into adulthood. A recent study investigated whether there was a sex shift between boys and girls maturing into adulthood. Previous studies have shown that allergic rhinitis and asthma affects more boys than girls in childhood. But this exhibited a marked switch into adulthood, as the conditions became more apparent in females.

The conclusive study examined over 93,400 participants over ten different studies. It did so in a fourteen-year period to ascertain how predominant this sex-shift was. In children who suffered from both allergic rhinitis and asthma, males outnumbered females by a ratio of 1.65. Or, for every three girls who suffered both together, there were effectively five boys with the same dual condition. However, as the children grew into adolescence, this practically reversed. The male-female ratio for those between 11-17 years of age is 0.6, or, more plainly, for every three males, there were five females with both allergic rhinitis and asthma. As the participants then came to be adults, this then exhibited near-parity, at a ratio of 1.03, with males showing an ever so slight bias towards both conditions.

What does it mean?

What’s interesting here is the swing back and forth between the two as children become adolescents and then back again in adulthood. Whilst the researchers do admit that this is still a relatively nascent field, and further research must be done to corroborate and extend upon their work, these initial findings do make intriguing reading.

So what does this all mean? Well, in one aspect, it shows the influential role puberty plays in the development of individuals’ immune systems, and how, particularly in girls, signs of allergic rhinitis and asthmas at an early age may well emphasise an increased likelihood for a greater development of the conditions into adolescence. For boys, the opposite appears to be true, but nevertheless, those who suffer from the conditions at a young age are likely to carry that through into adulthood, though the statistics do indicate that many will also simply ‘grow out’ of it.

Whatever the case, this new evidence adds more weight to the growing field of research in this area, and can hopefully continue to develop as we better understand one of the world’s most common afflictions.

If you’re concerned you might have allergic rhinitis, book an appointment with us or request a home allergy testing kit.

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