Protective effect of estrogen against severe Covid-19: The jury is still out


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    26 May 2022

Women who had been prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogen within six months of being diagnosed with Covid-19 were less likely to die, suggests a new study published in the journal Family Medicine.1

Researchers retrospectively analyzed medical records of 1,863,478 women aged 18 years and older from  465 general practices during the first six months from the onset of the pandemic. Data was sourced from the database of the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC). Their objective was to explore the association between the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or combined oral contraceptive pills (OCP) and mortality risk in women with Covid-19, whether suspected or confirmed.

A total of 5451 women had Covid-19. A 78% decline in all-cause mortality was noted in women on HRT with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.22. However, no events were recorded for all-cause mortality in women taking OCPs; hence, the effect of OCPs could not be evaluated, note the authors.

Women generally have fared better than men during Covid-19. This study has shown a correlation between the use of HRT and decreased mortality in women with Covid-19. Women on HRT can continue taking it even during the pandemic. The authors however recommend further studies to comprehensively investigate the protective role of estrogens against severe Covid-19.


  1. Dambha-Miller H, et al. Mortality in COVID-19 among women on hormone replacement therapy: a retrospective cohort study. Fam Pract. 2022 May 17;cmac041. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmac041.

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