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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
29 Apr 2023


NextImg:Reproductive Symptoms Affect More Than 400,000 Hongkongers With Long-COVID: Study

The Faculty of Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) conducted the largest scale long-COVID study in Asia. The study was conducted from July to December 2022, and the sequelae of 10,043 Hong Kong patients who recovered from COVID-19 were interviewed through questionnaires. It found that more than 70 percent of the patients still suffered from at least one COVID-19 symptom five months on, and 12 percent of them had symptoms related to the reproductive system.

Among the symptoms of COVID-19, cognitive function and psychological symptoms (38 percent) are among the most common, including memory loss, decreased concentration, slow thinking, insomnia, lethargy, anxiety, depression, and irregular sleep time. Some even had the symptoms for up to three years. Women aged 45 or above and having been admitted to hospital for treatment of COVID-19 are the more likely reasons for developing the long-COVID symptoms.

In addition, 12 percent of patients with COVID-19 developed some form of symptoms related to the reproductive system, including menstrual disorders, lower body pain, and sexual dysfunction. Among them, 80 percent are women.

The research team estimates that assuming five million people in Hong Kong have been infected, as many as 420,000 people with COVID-19 are likely to suffer these disorders, and about a quarter of them will have their interpersonal relationships affected. But more than half of them have not sought medical treatment and said they do not know the way to treat or prevent it, with about 70 percent of them feeling confused and overwhelmed.

A similar large-scale British study also pointed out that the risk of loss of libido and difficulty ejaculating in patients with COVID-19 increased by more than twice than normal. Another scholar pointed out that the ACE2 receptor, which can bind to the COVID-19 virus and allows it to invade cells, is widely present in male and female reproductive organs, such as the testes, ovaries, and uterus. Some studies have even found that COVID-19-infected male patients suffer serious imbalances in their reproductive system hormone levels. Such imbalance has raised concerns about sexual dysfunction and the impact on fertility after infection with COVID-19.

Prof. Francis Chan Ka-leung, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, said: “This study provides the largest scale and most comprehensive reference data to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Hong Kong, and once again proves that COVID-19 is a common yet complex disease.”

Prof. Ng Siew-chien, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK, added, “This study shows that COVID-19 still troubled many patients post-recovery and continued to affect their physical and mental health.”

Prof. Chan made this appeal: “Society must face up to the burden brought by COVID-19 as soon as possible, including strengthening the education of the public and medical personnel on relevant information, and also support the patients with COVID-19 through the primary medical system, and refer refractory cases to specialists for follow-up when necessary. At the same time , we hope to set up a long-term COVID-19 center to focus on complex cases, provide patients with an integrated approach to diagnosis and treatment, and help develop more ways for early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of it.”