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Conception Jun 13, 2021
4 Minutes

PCOS: higher risk for COVID? How you can help…

New research suggests that PCOS sufferers are as much as 50% more likely to develop confirmed or suspected Covid infections vs women without. We look at why this may be the case and some science backed ways to reduce your risks. 

What the stats say around PCOS and COVID: 

Whilst there is much we still don’t fully understand, a recent study involving over 80,000 women has indicated that women with PCOS could be as much as 51% more likely to contract COVID. Even more interestingly this does not only apply to those who suffer from obesity and diabetes which also sometimes come hand in hand with PCOS and are similarly linked to more severe COVID infections…. 

Even without some of the known risk factors, women with PCOS but without obesity/insulin resistance are still at higher risk by as much as 28% 

The big question is that even if you take women who do not present with factors like insulin resistance/diabetes and obesity (known risk factors for COVID) why are we more prone to catching COVID? 

Potential links between PCOS and COVID: 

PCOS is a complicated hormonal condition which we still do not fully grasp. However, there are two potential risk factors that may well be behind the link between PCOS and COVID:

Increased low-level inflammation: 

We know that PCOS is a ‘pro inflammatory state’. It is much more pronounced with obesity, but, even when adjusted for this it appears to persist in women who suffer with PCOS, regardless of BMI. This may be one reason contributing to greater vulnerability around COVID. 

Why is low-level inflammation bad?

More broadly low levels of persistent inflammation damages healthy cells (and is rapidly being recognised as a root cause of many chronic illnesses).  However, we know it is particularly problematic for COVID where the most damaging impacts appear to come as the immune system goes into overdrive creating massive inflammation and damaging cells. Click here for more. 

Higher androgens of PCOS linked to increased chance of COVID: 

For many women with PCOS there is a hormone imbalance. Specifically higher levels of circulating testosterone. Several research papers have linked the higher androgen level (Testosterone) to issues with the immune system. More specifically when it comes to COVID, it appears that an enzyme regulated by testosterone is key to mediating entry of Covid into cells. As well as impacting areas within the body responsible for the the body’s defence against virus: Natural Killer cells. This could be a major reason why there appears to be a link between PCOS and COVID. 

How can we help support our bodies with PCOS against COVID? 

Fighting inflammation and balancing hormones is always the best approach when it comes to managing PCOS. The research above suggests it may be even more important now. 

Ten science-backed ways to fight chronic inflammation:

Tackling low level inflammation is always a good start. For much more detail click here. In brief the avoids: extremes of exercise ie. too much or none at all (both can be inflammatory). stress, processed foods and refined sugar. Salt, alcohol, saturated and trans fats plus excessive pollution and endocrine disruptors (think pesticides/plastics/added artificial fragrance etc). The positives to focus on: building gut health. The gut is a major gateway between the outside world and what gets into our bodies, plus it is where 80% of our immune system resides. Click here for much more on how to optimise this. Getting enough sleep, a Mediterranean diet, plus DHA/EPA and adequate Vitamin D have all shown real benefit when it comes to managing the immune system and inflammtion. 

What about managing androgen levels in PCOS?

In PCOS we know that higher circulating levels of Testosterone give rise to many of the classic symptoms: irregular periods, acne, excess hair growth and mood issues. One issue is less of the ‘transport’ system for Testosterone, known as Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). Research has shown compelling results for using Inositol to boost SHBG and reduce the amount of free testosterone circulating. Chat to your doctor about a supplement. For more – click here. 


This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.





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