How does HAE
impact women?

Women may experience HAE differently

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 they go through the various life stages of puberty, pregnancies and menopause.

How female hormones play a role

Fluctuations in the female hormone 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 life stage.


When puberty begins, the body starts to produce more hormones, including estrogen. Because estrogen may affect HAE symptoms, some females with HAE may experience their first HAE attack at this time, or they may begin to experience more frequent and more severe HAE attacks.

Family planning

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

Also note that HAE can be passed from parent to child. If one parent has HAE, there is a 50% chance it will be passed to the child. Curious about how genetics can play a role in HAE? Learn more about family and HAE.


If you're thinking about having children, you might be happy to know 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.

Effects of pregnancy on HAE symptoms*

HAE symptoms worsen HAE symptoms improve HAE symptoms don’t change 1/3 1/3 1/3 HAE symptoms improve HAE symptoms don’t change 1/3 1/3 1/3 HAE symptoms worsen

*227 pregnancies in 107 women of a retrospective study including 150 postpubertal women.


During menopause, women experience another change in hormone levels that may affect HAE symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy may also affect the frequency and severity of your HAE attacks.

Effects of menopause on HAE symptoms


No change





In a subset population (n=44) of a retrospective study of 150 postpubertal women.

Dariela, patient living with HAE.

What are the different types of hereditary angioedema (HAE)?

There are three types of HAE, and they are classified by what problem the genetic defect causes. A person can have low levels of C1-INH in the body (type I HAE), poorly functioning C1-INH (type II HAE), or HAE with normal functioning C1-INH (HAE with Normal C1).

Learn more about the types.
Topics you might like: