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Higher Estrogen Levels Might Mean Less COVID Death Risk

Medically reviewed by Via Roderos, MD, MBA · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Aug 20, 2022

Higher Estrogen Levels Might Mean Less COVID Death Risk

Females might have a better chance to battle against COVID-19 and a few studies have been conducted on this theory for the past two years. A new study from Sweden, however, reveals that the female hormone protects against death from the coronavirus. It observed that among their study population, 14,685 post-menopausal women and had positive numbers recovering from COVID-19. Older studies have also suggested how effective estrogen is in battling COVID before any vaccine was available. Higher levels in women, whether natural or artificially given, result in lower COVID-related deaths.

The Role of Estrogen

Studies on the effects of estrogen and hormones on COVID-19 were conducted early in the pandemic. They continue to be done to this day with varying results. One study from 2020 pointed out that the “new” coronavirus disease COVID-19 infects and kills more men than women. It added that men tend to develop more serious infections than women.

The number of infected men was 2.4 times higher than that of women in deceased patients. Other respiratory syndromes like SARS and MERS had a stronger predilection for men rather than women too.

The presence of estrogen receptors in a variety of body tissues and organs suggests that it plays an important role in a lot of physiological processes. These processes include immune response. They form the basis of further hormonal studies conducted since the pandemic took the world by storm.

Estrogen Studies From 2021

A study published in March 2021 wanted to provide an overview on the protective effects of estrogen in COVID-19. The study noted that the hormone has noteworthy anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory effects in COVID-19. It found that it also reduced SARS-CoV-2 infectivity through modulation of pro-inflammatory signaling pathways.

That same study highlighted the potential protective effect of estrogen against COVID-19. It recommended future clinical trials and prospective studies to confirm this protective effect.

Another study published in September 2021 wanted to investigate the connection of COVID-19 positivity and severity with estrogen exposure. That study’s findings supported a protective effect of estrogen exposure on COVID-19. It was based on a positive association between predicted COVID-19 with menopausal status and a negative association with the use of a combined oral contraceptive pill.

High estrogen levels lead to lower COVID deaths

The recent Swedish study noted that 17% of the women were taking estrogen supplements to relieve menopausal symptoms. The women who gained extra estrogen had a 53% lower risk of dying from COVID-19 compared to untreated women after adjusting for other risk factors.

This was an observational study that cannot prove higher estrogen levels are protective. Dr. Malin Sund of Umea University said in a Reuters article that the women were infected before vaccines were available.

“Vaccination has clearly been shown to protect from COVID-19 related mortality and the potential added value from estrogen (in vaccinated women) cannot be estimated from this data,” Sund said in the same story.

Key Takeaways

It has been believed since the early days of the pandemic that women are less prone to die from coronavirus than men. Studies from 2020 and 2021 have claimed that the female hormone estrogen plays a factor in the immune response against COVID-19. A new Swedish study notes that 53% of menopausal women who had higher estrogen levels had a lower risk of dying than women who didn’t. This observational study noted that the women were infected with COVID-19 before vaccines became available.

For more on Coronavirus, click here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Via Roderos, MD, MBA

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Aug 20, 2022

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