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Post Pandemic PCOS…why fertility & obesity treatments matter...now more than ever...




As we emerge from lockdown many people are understandably anxious about their health. We know that having PCOS increases your risk of catching covid and anyone with PCOS is encouraged to adhere to infection control measures but is that enough? [1].


Firstly, for many with PCOS, time has stood still during the pandemic. Some may have missed opportunities to create their desired family, others may be concerned that time is running out and that they may age out of access to fertility treatments. Secondly, some people have gained weight during lockdown due to the changes in our environment and the additional stress of covid. Studies have reported changing eating behaviours and fear of gaining weight [2] Thirdly any additional weight gain in PCOS may further delay eligibility for fertility treatments as it is Body Mass Index (BMI) based. More time needed to lose pandemic weight gain to meet eligibility criteria could push schedules for fertility treatment back further or beyond reach.


In addition, women with PCOS are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease [3]. We know that there is an increased risk of hypertension in PCOS too, which may significantly increase the risk for adverse COVID-19-related outcomes. Yet PCOS doesn’t appear to have been highlighted in clinical practice [4]. While the Government focus on obesity is welcome, we must ask if anyone has considered the impact on those with PCOS and Obesity? We need access to obesity treatments and fertility treatments to be reviewed taking into consideration the effect of the pandemic on this population. We would urge the government to consider this not just in terms of fertility and obesity but also in terms of long term health. It really is time to prioritise PCOS.


In the meantime, here are some practical steps we can do for ourselves;

1. If you need help with Fertility, Mental Health or Eating Disorders – seek help early! Contact details are available on our website.

2. Follow government guidelines to avoid your risk of infection.

3. Seek support from fellow PCOS cysters… you can easily join our Facebook Peer Support Group (link on the website).

4. Don’t beat yourself up about weight gain post lockdown – it really is counterproductive.

© PCOS Vitality 2021. Not medical advice.


References


[1] A. Subramanian, A. Anand, N.J. Adderley, K. Okoth, K.A. Toulis, K. Gokhale, C. Sainsbury, M.W. O’Reilly, W. Arlt, K. Nirantharakumar, Increased COVID-19 infections in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a population-based study, Eur. J. Endocrinol. 1 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1530/EJE-20-1163.

[2] Obesity and COVID-19: a call for action from people living with obesity | Elsevier Enhanced Reader, (n.d.). https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S2213858720302369?token=DA925ECDB4D28C341DF6842342F4ADB555795DA83616DAE2FF39AC59CA7047243B413898E2C7A75F1626D752BC7221CC&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20210509132015 (accessed May 9, 2021).

[3] H. Teede, A. Deeks, L. Moran, Polycystic ovary syndrome: A complex condition with psychological, reproductive and metabolic manifestations that impacts on health across the lifespan, BMC Med. 8 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-8-41.

[4] I. Kyrou, E. Karteris, T. Robbins, K. Chatha, F. Drenos, H.S. Randeva, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and COVID-19: an overlooked female patient population at potentially higher risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, (n.d.). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01697-5.

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