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Are women with PCOS at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

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Conditions stemming from PCOS may pose as high-risk factors for contracting COVID-19.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that is prevalent in women of reproductive age, according to The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Furthermore, findings from another study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology revealed that women with PCOS were 51 per cent more likely to contract COVID-19 when compared to women of the same age who did not have the syndrome. That increased risk continued after researchers performed statistical modifications to ensure that PCOS was the culprit, not any other chronic illnesses. PCOS patients still reportedly had a 28 per cent higher likelihood of infection.

In some instances, primary care providers commonly overlook the link between the syndrome and severe morbidity in terms of both reproductive and nonreproductive outcomes. The study, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Arguably the Most Common Endocrinopathy Is Associated with Significant Morbidity in Women published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, further reports that having the disorder can have a substantial influence on women's quality of life during their reproductive years. It could lead to morbidity and mortality by the time they reach menopause.

Treatment should be tailored to each patient's phenotypic and personal aspirations, such as a desire for conception, according to a study, Managing polycystic ovary syndrome in primary care, published in the Singapore Medical Journal. Psychological well-being is also a factor to consider because of the implications on physical appearance. Diet and exercise are critical components in the treatment of PCOS and obese patients. Lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, followed by pharmaceutical medication, are the first-line treatments for PCOS fertility and metabolic syndrome.

Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of cardiometabolic disease linked to COVID-19. The researchers in the study Increased COVID-19 infections in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a population-based study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology used a population-based closed cohort study in the UK during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (January to July 2020) to see if the increased metabolic risk in PCOS translates to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection. The study included 21,292 women with PCOS and 78,310 controls who were matched for sex, age, and general practice location. After adjusting for age, BMI, poor glucose regulation, and other explanatory variables, women with PCOS had a 52 per cent elevated risk of COVID-19 infection, which remained at 28 per cent higher than controls.

In conclusion, findings from the study demonstrate that women with PCOS had a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and that adjusting for potentially confounding variables, except for obesity, did not reduce this risk, indicating PCOS-specific causes.

Future research should look at the possibly crucial function of androgens in communicating this danger and the impact of ethnicity and socioeconomic disadvantage. Women with PCOS should especially be urged to follow the recommended infection control measures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, based on results from the study.

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