Histamine Intolerance and Menopause – What You Need to Know!

histamine intolerance menopause

Navigating menopause can be tricky, especially when your symptoms overlap with other health issues. One often under-the-radar culprit?

 Histamine intolerance. This condition can significantly amplify menopausal symptoms like headaches, skin irritations, and digestive issues. 

But don’t worry—I’m here to help you understand the connection between histamine and menopause, and share practical tips for managing these symptoms effectively.

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine is a natural chemical in your body involved in the immune response, digestion, and even the central nervous system. When you consume histamine-rich foods or encounter allergens, your body releases histamine to protect itself. Usually, the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) helps break down this histamine. But when there’s too much histamine or not enough DAO, you might experience histamine intolerance.


Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance

Histamine intolerance can affect various systems in your body:

  • Skin: Hives, flushing, itching, eczema
  • Respiratory: Runny nose, sinusitis, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • Digestive: Acid reflux, nausea, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal pain
  • Vascular: Dizziness, fainting, migraines, fluid retention, palpitations
  • Neurological: Irritability, anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, fatigue, tinnitus
  • Other: Joint and muscular pain

Given these wide-ranging symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical advice to differentiate between histamine intolerance and menopause-related symptoms


Histamine Intolerance and Menopause: The Overlap

Menopause brings significant hormonal changes, particularly fluctuating oestrogen levels. Oestrogen regulates histamine by prompting mast cells to release more histamine and inhibiting DAO production. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle: higher histamine levels lead to increased oestrogen, which leads to even higher histamine levels.

Stress and Histamine

Chronic stress, common during menopause, can further exacerbate histamine levels. Stress impairs gut health, crucial for maintaining good histamine metabolism, leading to more pronounced symptoms.


Diagnosing and Managing Histamine Intolerance During Menopause

Diagnosis

Symptoms of histamine intolerance can mimic those of menopause, making diagnosis tricky. The current gold standard is an elimination diet, where high-histamine foods are removed and gradually reintroduced to identify if histamine is the culprit.

Treatment Options

Managing histamine intolerance during menopause involves dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and sometimes medical treatments.

Dietary Adjustments

Modify your diet by reducing or avoiding high-histamine foods like aged cheeses, smoked meats, and fermented products. Fresh meats, fish, and vegetables are generally lower in histamine. Keeping a food diary can help identify potential triggers.

Lifestyle Modifications

Regular physical activity and stress management are critical. Simple activities like walking or yoga can reduce symptoms. Techniques like meditation and deep breathing exercises can help manage stress. Ensuring adequate sleep is also important, as poor sleep can worsen symptoms.

Medical Interventions

Sometimes, dietary and lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Consult a healthcare provider who might recommend antihistamines or DAO supplements to help break down histamine in your body.

Histamine Intolerance and Menopause

When it comes to histamine and menopause, several key factors can influence histamine tolerance and trigger symptoms. These factors include fluctuating oestrogen levels, the inhibition of DAO (the enzyme that breaks down histamine), certain foods, and stress.

During menopause, women experience significant hormonal changes. Oestrogen regulates histamine by prompting mast cells to release more histamine and inhibiting the production of DAO, the enzyme that breaks down histamine.

Additionally, histamine promotes the production of more oestrogen. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle: higher histamine levels lead to increased oestrogen, which leads to even higher histamine levels.

Stress and Its Impact on Histamine

Stress, especially chronic stress, can significantly impact histamine levels. During menopause, many women experience increased stress due to hormonal changes, leading to a rise in histamine production. 

Chronic stress can impair gut health, which is crucial for maintaining good histamine metabolism.

In the next section, I will discuss essential aspects of diagnosing and managing histamine intolerance during menopause. This includes the methods for testing, various strategies for managing histamine levels, and necessary dietary and lifestyle adjustments.


Future Research and Clinical Studies

Recent research has advanced our understanding of histamine intolerance. For example, some studies show that blood diamine oxidase (DAO) activity, an enzyme that breaks down histamine, may not be a reliable diagnostic tool since it doesn’t consistently match up with clinical symptoms (1).

Another important area of research is the role of probiotics. Studies are assessing how probiotics might affect histamine levels in the body. 

These studies indicate that certain probiotics could help manage symptoms by influencing gut flora, although more research is required to confirm these findings (2).

Menopause-Related Histamine Studies

Clinical trials are now exploring how treatments for menopausal symptoms might also influence histamine symptoms. 

For instance, one study found that neurokinin receptor antagonists, which effectively reduce hot flushes, might also benefit women grappling with both histamine intolerance and menopausal symptoms. 

These findings could be ground breaking for those seeking relief from both conditions (3). However, further research is needed to fully understand the interaction between menopause and histamine intolerance and to identify the most effective treatments.


Summary and Key Takeaways

Support and Resources

Managing histamine intolerance during menopause can be tough, but you’re not alone. Numerous resources can help you navigate and manage your symptoms more effectively.

I recommend reading informative PDFs, such as the one available on I recommend reading informative PDFs, such as the one available on Balance Menopause, which lists common symptoms and explains their potential severity.

Conclusion

Understanding the link between menopause and histamine intolerance is key for managing symptoms. Effective management involves dietary changes, medications, and lifestyle adjustments. 

Ongoing research is exploring new treatments, providing hope for better management.

Key Takeaways

Histamine levels can affect menopausal symptoms.
Oestrogen affects histamine release and breakdown.
Managing histamine intolerance involves various treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the link between histamine intolerance and menopause is crucial, especially regarding oestrogen levels and antihistamine use. Here are some common questions I frequently encounter:

What is the relationship between low oestrogen and heightened histamine reactions?

Low oestrogen during menopause can make your body more sensitive to histamine. Oestrogen helps regulate histamine production. When oestrogen levels drop, histamine reactions can become more severe, causing symptoms like itching and flushing.

Which antihistamines are recommended for itching caused by menopausal changes?

For itching caused by menopausal changes, non-drowsy antihistamines such as cetirizine or loratadine are often recommended. They can help manage the itching without causing significant drowsiness, making them a good option for daily use.

Can taking antihistamines affect oestrogen levels?

Taking antihistamines does not directly affect oestrogen levels. They work by blocking histamine receptors, reducing histamine-related symptoms. However, it’s always important to talk to your doctor about any medications you’re taking, especially during menopause.

What are the symptoms indicating an intolerance to oestrogen?

Symptoms of oestrogen intolerance can include headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, and bloating. These symptoms are often mistaken for typical menopausal symptoms, so it’s important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

How can histamine be effectively eliminated from the body?

To effectively eliminate histamine, you can focus on a low-histamine diet, reducing foods like aged cheese, alcohol, and processed meats. Drinking plenty of water can also help.

Does hormone replacement therapy influence histamine intolerance?

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can influence histamine intolerance. Some women may find that HRT worsens histamine-related symptoms, while others might experience relief. It’s important to monitor your symptoms and consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best approach.


Health Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your medical team or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary changes. The views expressed on this site are based on the best knowledge of the dietitian. Readers are advised to consider their personal health needs before implementing any nutrition strategy.

Nichola Williams menopause dietitian
Nichola Williams, MNutr, RD

Nichola is a dedicated specialist in histamine and food chemical sensitivity. As a registered dietitian, she brings both professional expertise and a personal understanding of living with Histamine Intolerance (HIT) to her practice. Beyond her career, Nichola is a culinary enthusiast with a passion for open water swimming. She loves combining her knowledge with compassion to empower her clients on their journey to improved gut health.

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