A severe and atypical form of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been identified as being a risk factor for stillbirths in women who have taken female hormones, according to a new study from Australia’s Monash University.
According to the researchers, the disorder — known as COVID-19 — decreases a woman’s ability to ovulate regularly, leading to miscarriages and high risk pregnancies with the added risk of stillbirth. The disorder also raises the women’s hormone levels during pregnancy and suppresses ovarian development, and it can be seen in a fetus’s malformation of their genital organs, neuroendocrine abnormalities, and suppression of bone growth.
The study was a review of existing research into PCOS and eight women in particular who each had a first trimester low-risk pregnancy that was lost in the second trimester. A subset of 87 women who had a first trimester PCOS and took increased levels of hormone were compared to a control group of 144 similar women who had normal hormone levels.
A team of seven researchers from the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Monash Medical School reviewed the clinical and experimental data in the women and assessed their risk for and responses to PCOS symptoms, all prior to pregnancy. However, more than 15 percent of women of childbearing age who are taking steroids during pregnancy had these abnormal ovulation behaviors and 16 percent had impaired ovulation, according to the study’s findings. These results, the researchers found, may be particularly salient for women taking steroid hormones.
“Women with the symptoms of PCOS are at greater risk of pregnancy loss and may be at risk of having children with complications such as premature birth, and certain cancers,” Dr. Jamila Rizvi, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Brain and Mind Research Institute and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
Read the full story at Newsweek.
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