Should I start HT as a COVID-19 precaution?

I see reports that hormone therapy might combat COVID-19.

This could change, but so far the answer is no. Doctors and scientists simply don’t know enough yet.  What researchers have noticed is that COVID-19 has been hitting men harder than women, and that pregnant women who contract the virus seem to have milder cases.

In general, women have a stronger immune system than men.

This has made them curious about whether estrogen and progesterone may help fend off the virus or minimize its effects. In general, women have a stronger immune system than men and we know that sex hormones can affect the immune system. 

To learn more, the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are both conducting trials. Stony Brook will be giving half of the 110 COVID-19 positive (or presumed positive) participants in its study an estrogen patch for a week; the other half will receive standard care. 

Meanwhile, Cedars-Sinai will give the 40 participants in their trial progesterone, which affects inflammation. The hope is that progesterone will minimize or prevent an overreaction of the immune system (a cytokine storm). 

Hormones are just one possible explanation that COVID-19 is worse for men than women. As we all know, correlation is not causation. But it will be interesting to see what the researchers learn.

If you have other reasons to think hormone therapy might be right for you, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. They can help you make an informed decision based on your health and risk factors.