Health News

Women with long Covid may be actually going through the mesopause

Women who think they have long Covid may actually be suffering from the menopause and need HRT, experts say

  • HRT could help menopausal women who think they have long Covid, says GP 
  • Symptoms of long Covid are vague and overlap with menopause
  • Fatigue, muscle aches and brain fog are just some of the similar symptoms 
  • Covid infection could also tip women into an menopause early, experts say

Women who think they have long Covid could actually be going through the mesopause, experts say.

Doctors warn the symptoms for both — such as fatigue, muscle aches and brain fog — are very similar.

The majority of long Covid sufferers are women, surveillance data suggests. 

Dr Louise Newson, a GP and menopause expert in Solihull, said women struggling with the vague ailments might just need menopause-busting drugs.

Symptoms for long Covid and the menopause are similar. Both can include fatigue, muscle aches and brain fog. Around seven in 10 women experience menopause symptoms, which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life. They include difficulty sleeping, dizziness and headaches — which overlap with long Covid

Menopause is when a woman stops having periods, and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.

It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.

It is a normal part of ageing and caused by levels of the sex hormone oestrogen dropping.

Some women go through this time with few, if any, symptoms. 

Others suffer from hot flushes, sleeping difficulties, mood swings and brain fog, which can last for months or years and might change over time.

HRT replaces the hormones and is the main treatment used to treat symptoms — which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life.

Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.

Dr Newson told The Telegraph: ‘There is no diagnostic test for long Covid and the symptoms are often very similar to menopause.

‘Many of the 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, such as whether they are actually experiencing menopause.’

The GP noted that long Covid exists, but believes women should be screened and treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). 

She added: ‘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 as a possibility’. 

More than 2million people in the UK have self-reported long Covid symptoms, according to survey data from the Office for National Statistics.

The average age of people who claim to have long Covid is 46.5, while 82.5 per cent are women, according to a recent survey led by the University of Southampton. 

Meanwhile, the menopause is when a woman’s periods stops — usually between the ages of 45 and 55 — and is a normal part of ageing. 

It is caused by a drop in hormone levels, such as oestrogen.

Around seven in 10 women experience symptoms, which can be severe and disrupt day-to-day life. They include difficulty sleeping, dizziness and headaches — which overlap with long Covid.

But it’s not just the vague symptoms and similar demographics that make experts think some long Covid sufferers are actually struggling with the menopause.  

Dr Newson also believes that a Covid infection could trigger women into mesopause early.  

After catching Covid or getting the jab, thousands of women reported changes to their periods.

However, studies have found that while women may see their menstrual cycle increase by a few days after two doses, but it is only a temporary blip. 

As well as Covid, other infections such as mumps, tuberculosis and malaria, can also trigger an earlier menopause. 

Dr Newson told the newspaper: ‘Quite early on, lots of women were saying their periods were changing but we also know that any infection can affect our ovaries.

‘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 perimenopause is when women begin suffering from menopause symptoms before their periods have stopped. 

The GP advised women to track their symptoms and the days the feel ‘irritable, fatigued or achy’ and monitor whether they worsen over time.

For those who are suffering from the menopause or perimenopause, the earlier they begin taking HRT the better, Dr Newson said.

Of the one in 30 Brits who say they have long Covid, the majority have been suffering for at least one year and three-quarters say it affects their daily life.

Fatigue is the most commonly reported symptom — reported by seven in 10 of sufferers — followed by difficulty concentrating and muscle aches.

Each overlaps with the menopause, which is also known for triggering hot flushes, mood swings and headaches.

HRT — described as a lifeline by some women — can help ease these symptoms by replacing lost hormones. 

In other health news…

Nearly two-thirds of junior doctors are ‘looking to leave the NHS’, union warns ahead of industrial action ballot 

Once a month jab could ease pain of arthritic knees: More than 600 people with knee osteoarthritis are taking part in clinical trials of the drug 

Are you getting your 5 fruit and veg a day? Now there’s an app to check 

Source: Read Full Article