06.08.2020 – 18:47
Study explains context
Estrogens: does the pill protect against the coronavirus?
According to various studies, women develop Covid-19 less frequently than men. The thought has often arisen that it could be due to the estrogen level. Now researchers are explaining: The pill may (also) protect. But at the same time, it could also be a risk.
Some love it, others hate it: The contraceptive pill, or in short, the pill, is repeatedly criticized. While health problems such as thrombosis or psychological changes are associated with it, some women swear by the positive side effects of the contraceptive. Now there are new findings – and they have to do with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. Does the pill protect against Covid-19? Or does it increase the risk of severe courses? In theory, both are possible.
The pill: study suspects protective effects against Covid-19
Statistics show: Worldwide more men than women contract Covid-19. This has long been associated with the hormone balance. Roughly speaking, more testosterone seems to provoke more difficult courses. Coronavirus, on the other hand, does not seem to like estrogen so much. According to scientists, the “female hormone” estrogen should be able to influence how many immune cells a person produces and how well they react to infections.
A large-scale study by King’s College in London has now examined this more closely and found that women who take a combination contraceptive were on average 13 percent less likely to develop severe symptoms of Covid-19. To this end, the scientists evaluated the data from around half a million women between May and June.
Estrogen appears to have protective effects
The researchers examined pre-menopausal women who used contraceptive pills and women during and after menopause who were taking hormone replacement therapy to prevent menopausal symptoms and the associated risks. Because with menopause, the estrogen level in women drops. The fact that estrogen has an impact on risk also shows that the difference between older women and men is no longer as great as other observational studies have already shown.
“In addition, we have a younger group of women who take the pill [als Kombinationspräparat] compared to a similar group that does not take the pill, and found less severe symptoms of Covid 19. This indicates that the hormones in the pill have a certain protective effect against Covid-19, “explains study co-author Dr. Karla Lee. However, the study has not yet been reviewed by independent experts and is currently still in the preprint Status: To what extent estrogen can now help protect against Covid-19 needs further research.
Drops of wormwood: risk of blood clots increases
However, other studies also show less positive effects of the pill in connection with the coronavirus. It is now known that the pill – depending on the type and composition – can increase the risk of thrombosis. But Sars-CoV-2 can also cause blood clots, the Pulmonary embolism, Strokes or just Thrombosis can cause. Both together could further increase the risk. The preprint study, which has not yet been reviewed, has already been recorded by the journal “Endocrinology”.
But it’s not just the pill. Overall, high estrogen levels can increase your risk of blood clots. Therefore, the doctors in the study especially warn pregnant women, women who take certain pill preparations or those who use estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy. However, further research is also needed here.
“During this pandemic, we need further research to determine whether women who become infected during pregnancy should take anticoagulants, or whether women should stop taking the pill or hormone replacement therapy for the duration of the infection,” said study co – author Dr . Daniel Spratt from the Maine Medical Center in Portland, USA.