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Women with PCOS at High Risk for COVID-19

DOMINATING the statistics for infertility in women, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of this condition, with onset as a result of imbalanced reproductive hormones. Emerging evidence suggests a co-interaction of PCOS with infectious disease.   

A study over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted women with PCOS as a vulnerable demographic; results revealed a 52% increased risk of contracting a severe infection. This risk was more pronounced in older women, those with higher BMI, and in impaired glucose regulation. 

According to the CDC, PCOS affects 6–15% of women of reproductive age in the USA, which already amounts to a large subset of their population before considering a worldwide scale. These findings have provoked healthcare professionals to speak out and urge women with PCOS to take additional precautions against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), most notably acquiring a vaccination.  

Jared Bolton, Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, shed light on the situation: “PCOS is worse with obesity, and obesity makes PCOS worse,” suggesting that overweight women should be the first to take action. The first efforts for these women should involve routine exercise to promote weight loss, as well as monitoring blood sugar and cholesterol. 

Findings of this study have drawn attention to a frightening relationship, but promoting counteractive measures hopes to reduce consequent transmission and hospitalisation of women with PCOS, to improve health in women and reduce the burden upon healthcare services.