Gender should be considered more broadly when trying to understand people’s experiences with food allergies, researchers said after finding that food allergies particularly impact the well-being of girls and women.
A systematic review of more than 30 studies found that women with immunoglobulin (Ig)-E-mediated food allergies had worse health-related quality of life (HRQL) at baseline than men, regardless of age. was also shown to be low.
Caregiver mothers had lower HRQL than fathers, particularly regarding diet, social, well-being, and physical factors.
There were also potential gender differences in HRQL after food allergy intervention.
The findings “highlight the need to tailor allergy management approaches to take gender into account,” said Dr Mimi Tan from the University of Melbourne and colleagues.
“Understanding the factors that influence HRQL is essential to inform individualized allergy management and the identification of patients most in need of intervention,” they argue in the journal. Clinical and experimental allergy.
Research shows that food allergies have a significant impact on the HRQL of individuals and their caregivers.
Potential reasons for this include the need for strict dietary restrictions, lack of treatment options, and fear of accidental exposure.
To investigate this issue further, Tang and his team searched the Medline and Embase databases for English-language studies on HRQL and Ig-E-mediated food allergies.
Of the 34 included studies, 1 examined HRQL in all age groups, 5 examined only cross-sectional HRQL in adults with food allergies, and 28 focused on children with food allergies. I was guessing.
Seven studies of children with food allergies examined caregiver HRQL.
There were 10 intervention studies in children with food allergies, of which 9 investigated the effects of immunotherapy and 1 investigated the effect of elimination diets. No intervention studies targeting adult populations were identified.
Researchers found strong evidence that women had lower baseline self-reported HRQL compared to male participants with food allergies, regardless of age.
In five of six cross-sectional studies, women reported lower baseline total HRQL or subscore HRQL than men.
Girls also had worse baseline HRQL scores than boys when HRQL was self-reported in five of the eight relevant studies.
Researchers also report that in intervention studies in children, there appears to be a sex difference in changes in HRQL between baseline and follow-up, but the direction of this is unclear.
One study examining elimination diets as a form of intervention found no gender differences in children’s HRQL.
“We identified similar gender differences across HRQL subdomains. Women and especially children with food allergies reported worse outcomes across a range of physical, psychological, and social HRQL subscores.” the authors report.
“The female predominance in symptoms of anxiety, avoidant eating disorders, and distorted body image may help explain some of the gender differences observed in these subscores.”
The researchers wrote, “This study aims to establish whether psychosocial experiences and biological factors cause differences in food allergy outcomes.” “This highlights the need to consider diversity purposefully.”