Long Covid may actually be onset of menopause for women, say experts

Long Covid - insta_photos
Long Covid – insta_photos

Women may think they have long Covid when they are actually going through the menopause and may need hormone replacement therapy (HRT), experts believe.

In a recent survey of long Covid users, led by the University of Southampton, the average age of people replying was 46.5 while 82.5 per cent were women.

Symptoms of the condition are vague and overlap considerably with those experienced by women during perimenopause and menopause, such as fatigue, muscle aches, brain fog and difficult sleeping.

Dr Louise Newson, the founder of Newson Health Research and Education, said: “There is no diagnostic test for long Covid and the symptoms are often very similar to menopause, brain fogs, reduce stamina, tiredness and joint pains.

“Many women who complain of Long Covid are in their mid- to late-40s, so it seems common sense to look at the obvious things first, like whether they are actually experiencing menopause.

“I am not saying that long Covid isn’t a thing, but women should be screened and treated with hormone replacement therapy. I’d be very happy to be proved wrong if none of them feel better after HRT. But at the moment, nobody is looking at this is a possibility.”

Self-reported long Covid greatest in women

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), about 2.1 million people are suffering symptoms of long Covid in Britain – roughly 3.3 per cent of the population.

Symptoms included in the ONS surveys are fever, headache, muscle ache, weakness/tiredness, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste and loss of smell. They must be present at least four weeks after a Covid infection.

However, the ONS pointed out that such conditions are experienced regularly within the general population. It found that the prevalence of self-reported long Covid was greatest in females, and people aged 35 to 69.

Figures released in December show that 1,265,000 women were suffering long Covid symptoms in Britain, compared with 916,000 men – equating to about 38 per cent more women than men.

The largest global study to date on long Covid – by Johnson & Johnson, which analysed research on 1.3 million people – found that women are 22 per cent more likely than men to report ongoing symptoms, with the chance increasing with age.

As well as long Covid symptoms being linked to menopause, Dr Newson believed that the Covid infection could also have tipped women into menopause early.

Other infections, such as mumps, tuberculosis and malaria are known to trigger premature menopause. Many women also experienced reporting changes to their periods following a coronavirus infection or vaccination.

She has developed a free app called Balance where women can track their symptoms over time.

‘Not natural to live without your hormones’

“Quite early on, lots of women were saying their periods were changing,” she said. “But we also know that any infection can affect our ovaries. Evolutionary, we’re designed not to get pregnant when we are suffering an infection.

“The first thing our ovaries do is switch off, and that’s a good thing. But it might mean the body is no longer producing the right hormones and you can become perimenopausal.

“We have seen a lot of women in the clinic and they are perimenopausal. The earlier you take hormones, the better. It’s not natural to live without your hormones.”

Dr Newson added: “This happens to every single woman. Look how much support and help we give to pregnant women. Not everyone will have a baby, but this will definitely impact every woman.

“I would advise women to keep a track of their symptoms and note the days they feel irritable, or fatigued, achy, and notice if those symptoms start creeping up over time.”

Published by anthonyhayble

I AM A PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER WHO BLOGS ON EVENTS, NEWS AND CELEBRITY ACTIVITIES. YOU WILL GET THE LATEST BLOGGING UPDATES WITH UP TO DATE NEWS AND EVENTS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU. COMMENTS AND LIKES ARE ALSO WELCOMED. I AM STILL IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING AND UPDATING MY BLOGS AND IT WOULD BE UP AND RUNNING SHORTLY. THIS IS STILL A NEW SITE AND WILL GREATLY IMPROVE WITH TIME

%d bloggers like this: