A new study found that females with Long COVID-19 syndrome were more symptomatic than males. Females were statistically significantly more likely to experience difficulty swallowing, fatigue, chest pain, and palpitations at long-term follow-up, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Women's Health.
Long-COVID-syndrome is defined as persistent symptoms extending beyond 12 weeks after the initial symptoms of acute infection. In this study by Giovanna Pelà, MD, PhD, University of Parma, and University-Hospital of Parma, and coauthors, 91% of patients evaluated at follow-up (mean, 5 months) continued to experience COVID-19 symptoms. Breathlessness was the most common symptoms of long COVID-19, followed by fatigue. Females were more symptomatic than males (97% vs. 84%).
"Long-term longitudinal studies are needed to fully understand the sex-related pathophysiology of the symptoms and the effects of pharmacological treatment related to Long COVID-19; these studies will be crucial to understanding the natural trajectory of Long COVID-19 in order to implement targeted treatment strategies and to prevent bias in treating males and females," concluded the investigators.
While women have a lower mortality rate than men during the acute phase of COVID, this study indicates that women have a greater likelihood of experiencing Long Covid syndrome."
Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Journal of Women's Health Editor-in-Chief, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA
Pelà, G., et al. (2022) Sex-Related Differences in Long-COVID-19 Syndrome. Journal of Women's Health. doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2021.0411.