In addition to differences between men and women with COVID-19, there are some other differences that may point toward estrogen’s role in COVID-19 protection. Menopausal women who use estrogen hormone therapy are less likely to have severe symptoms compared to women who don’t use HRT. In fact, in Stony Brook, New York, researchers noticed that they didn’t have any pre-menopausal women or women on hormone therapy in their intensive care unit. Therefore, estrogen may offer some protection against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
As scientists work to understand many of the different implications of COVID-19, a common theme is that men and women are different. While men and women contact the virus approximately at equal rates, women seem to be experiencing fewer complications. They’re also less likely to die of COVID-19 compared to men. Also, because women on estrogen hormone therapy are less likely to have severe symptoms, scientists suspect hormones may impact how the infection affects people.
Researchers are now looking toward estrogen to learn if it has potential protective effects against SARS-CoV-3, the virus that causes COVID-19. Many scientists suggest this hormone may help the immune system fight the infection with less severe effects. This may be why women are experiencing fewer complications from the novel coronavirus.
During menopause, your hormone levels start to decline. However, many women turn to hormone therapy to help bring estrogen levels back into baseline ranges to help reduce menopausal symptoms. Now, some researchers suggest that HRT may also help with COVID-19 during menopause.
In a recent study, researchers decided to test how estrogen affected female mice with SARS, a viral infection similar to COVID-19. The mice with lower estrogen levels had fewer inflammatory cells in their lungs. Therefore, estrogen hormone therapy may help reduce the risk of serious lung inflammation.
Also, several conditions can increase your risk of severe illness due to COVID-19. Your risk for many of these conditions increases with menopause. For example, obesity and diabetes. During menopause, declining hormone levels can affect how your body distributes fat. Many women notice that they have more belly fat, also called visceral fat, during menopause. Visceral fat increases your risk for diabetes and many other serious conditions. Diabetes and obesity are also both associated with inflammation. This may explain why these conditions are often linked with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
In addition, many of the symptoms of menopause may also increase your risk for complications from COVID-19. For example, you might experience higher levels of stress or sleep difficulties. These common issues can affect your life and sense of wellbeing. They can also negatively impact your immune system.
Studies show that stress and sleep deprivation can lower your immune response. They can also increase the number of cytokines your body produces, which are often responsible for lung inflammation during COVID-19. Many women experience heightened stress and anxiety during menopause, as well as difficulty sleeping.
However, hormone replacement treatment may help reduce these symptoms of menopause. For example, night sweats are a common reason women have difficulty sleeping during menopause. Estrogen hormone therapy can also help with mood changes and other factors that may affect your immune system.
Therefore, it’s important to take care of your overall health during these uncertain times, as even elevated stress levels may affect your immune system. If you have menopause symptoms like hot flashes or mood changes, our provider may recommend hormone therapy to help you feel better. Additionally, our team can help you develop healthy habits for diet and exercise to help you maintain your health during menopause.
At HerKare, we’re dedicated to helping women feel their best. Our providers listen and offer personalized solutions to help you improve your health and wellbeing. Whether you’re experiencing menopause symptoms or you need help with other conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or allergies, we are here for you. Schedule an appointment today to talk to our team about your health concerns and learn how we may be able to help. We are here for you.