Women & HAE

“HAE and many of the challenges it created in my life have helped me become the strong woman I am today.”

Lesa — Diagnosed with HAE in 1980

Discover HAE throughout a woman's life

Hereditary angioedema (HAE) affects both men and women, but their experiences may be very different. For instance, women seem to be affected more severely by HAE than men. The severity and frequency of a woman's HAE attacks can also change as she goes through various life stages of childhood, puberty, pregnancies and menopause.

How female hormones play a role

Fluctuations in the female hormone estrogen can have an influence on HAE symptoms. Hormonal changes and fluctuations in sex hormones can trigger swelling attacks and affect the course of angioedema in women with HAE. However, every woman is different, so some women with HAE may be more or less sensitive to changes in their hormone levels than others.

If you have HAE, it’s a good idea to work closely with your treatment specialist as you approach each of the following life stages.

Puberty and HAE

When puberty begins, the body starts to produce more hormones, including estrogen. Because estrogen may affect HAE symptoms, females with HAE not only go through pubertal changes at this time, they sometimes begin to experience more frequent and more severe HAE attacks.

Family planning and HAE

If you have HAE, make sure you discuss any medication you take with your doctor. Birth control pills may contain estrogen, so they could cause more frequent or severe HAE attacks.

You should also know that HAE is an inherited genetic disorder that can be passed on from parent to child. If you have HAE, there is a 50% chance you'll pass it on to your child.

Hereditary angioedema and genetics

Would you like to learn more about how genetics can play a role in HAE?

Pregnancy and HAE

If you're thinking about having children, you might be happy to know that studies have found that women with HAE are not at an increased risk of infertility or miscarriage.

During pregnancy, women with HAE may or may not see their symptoms change.

Hereditary angioedema and pregnancy

Menopause and HAE

During menopause, women experience another change in hormone levels. This change may have an affect on your HAE symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy may also cause the severity and frequency of HAE attacks to increase.

Hereditary angioedema and menopause

*In a retrospective study of 44 postpubertal women with HAE.

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