DETROIT – New research suggests women with a sometimes overlooked condition may be at higher-risk for COVID-19 and more severe symptoms.
Researchers are looking for relationships between COVID and other medical conditions.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) leads to ovarian cysts but also causes irregular periods, difficulty becoming pregnant and is linked to diabetes and obesity. It comes from a hormonal imbalance that impacts about 10% of women and now it might be associated with COVID infections.
More than a year into the pandemic, a new study found that some women are at a higher risk for coronavirus. These women -- often young and otherwise healthy -- have PCOS.
A study in the European Journal of Endocrinology found women with PCOS had a 51% higher chance of confirmed or suspected COVID infection than women without.
After adjusting for age, diabetes and obesity, researchers found women with PCOS still had a 28% increased risk for confirmed or suspected COVID infection.
The study’s authors said more research is needed. Due to the retrospective nature of the study, it’s impossible to know if there is any cause and effect relationship, or an association for another reason.
Researchers said this is something patients with PCOS should be aware of, but not to panic.
One of the theories the researchers had is that there may be a relationship with the inflammatory state related to PCOS or a potential link to an excess of specific hormones -- like testosterone, although none have been proven yet. The Journal of the American Medical Association has found that low testosterone concentration in men was associated with a greater likelihood of developing more severe COVID.