Long Covid or menopause? Sometimes similar symptoms
- As of December 30, 2022, there were 23,808 new cases of Covid-19 in France over the past 24 hours, according to Santé Publique France.
- The nationwide incidence rate was 328.9 as of December 27, 2022.
Generally, menopause occurs around the age of 50, more precisely between 45 and 55, depending on health insurance. It corresponds to the period when a woman’s menstruation stops definitively. The symptoms that characterize this drop in reproductive hormones are fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbances.
Long Covid and menopause have common symptoms
“Many women complaining of long Covid are in their mid to late 40s, so it seems logical to look first [si elles sont touchées par] obvious things like [la ménopause], says Dr Louise Newson, GP and menopause expert. There is no diagnostic test for long Covid and the symptoms are often very similar to [ceux de] menopause”.
Long Covid is when a person experiences symptoms of Covid-19 more than four weeks after testing positive for the virus, according to theHealth Insurance. And some of these symptoms are similar to those of menopause, such as fatigue – which affects a large proportion of people with long Covid – sleep disturbances, muscle pain, hot or cold sweats, etc.
And the numbers seem to back up Dr. Louise Newson’s hypothesis. In the United Kingdom, the average age of people who report suffering from a long Covid is 46.5 years old and, of these, 82.5% are women. The general practitioner also believes that the Covid-19 virus could trigger early menopause in some women.
Prescribing HRT to women could reduce symptoms
“We are designed not to get pregnant when we have an infection, she expands. The first thing our ovaries do is shut down and that’s a good thing, but it could mean the body is no longer producing the right hormones and you may [être en périménopause]”. Perimenopause is having symptoms of menopause before it happens, that is, when the woman is still having her period.
In the event of a long Covid, women who are at the age of menopause should therefore monitor their symptoms, note them and carefully analyze their evolution over time. “For those who are going through menopause or perimenopause, the sooner they start taking hormone replacement therapy (THS) [qui vise à soulager les symptômes liés à la ménopause]the better”, explains Dr. Louise Newson, who pleads for women to be better screened and taken care of, even when they believe they are suffering from a long Covid, because taking HRT could reduce their symptoms.
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