A study lead by the University of Birmingham has revealed that women living with one of the most common hormone conditions are at increased risk of complications caused by Covid-19.
The results show that women living with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) have a 51% increased risk of contracting COVID-19 than those without the condition.
PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects 1 in 10 women. It is caused by a hormonal imbalance that sees increased testosterone in women that can cause unwanted hair growth, insulin resistance, acne and missed periods.
It is also believed to be the leading cause of female infertility in the UK.
The risk increased a further 26% when the study focused on women with the condition who have further health conditions relating to the condition that includes weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.
The first author of the study that has now been published in the European Journal of Endocrinology, Anuradhaa Subramanian, from UoB said: “Given the high prevalence of PCOS, these findings need to be considered when designing public health policy and advice as our understanding of COVID-19 evolves.”
Co-author Dr Michael O’Reilly, of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, explains: “Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, women with PCOS consistently report fragmented care, delayed diagnosis and a perception of poor clinician understanding of their condition.
“Women suffering from this condition may fear, with some degree of justification, that an enhanced risk of COVID-19 infection will further compromise timely access to healthcare and serve to increase the sense of disenfranchisement currently experienced by many patients.”
Professors at the University of Birmingham have urged the Government to reconsider the shielding guidelines for women with PCOS but also to be wary of the mental health implications caused by the imbalance.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is currently not on the list of conditions eligible in the first round of the vaccine rollout.
However, the other serious health conditions that are linked to the imbalance are eligible.
Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.