A new large-scale analysis has added hair and libido loss to the list of long COVID symptoms.
Developed by around 10% of people 4-12 weeks after initially contracting SARS-CoV-2, long COVID typically lasts for at least two months and currently can’t be explained by alternative diagnoses.
Based on systematic reviews, its most common symptoms include headache, muscle pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, cough, altered smell and taste, and diarrhea.
Interestingly, a new large-scale analysis has listed a total of 62 symptoms linked to a history of COVID-19 infection, including hair and libido loss.
For the study, the researchers analyzed primary care data collected from Jan. 31, 2020, to April 15, 2021, from 486,149 adults with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and 1,944,580 controls without a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Other common symptoms from the new additions were anosmia (loss of smell), ejaculation difficulty, sneezing, hoarse voice, and pleuritic chest pain.
Recently published in Nature Medicine, the study was able to cluster the symptoms into three main groups, including a broad spectrum of symptoms, like pain and fatigue, respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, and mental health and cognitive symptoms, including anxiety, depression and insomnia.
The researchers also found that the symptoms were more prevalent in the second wave than in the first wave of the pandemic.
The researchers also conducted a risk factor analysis for long COVID, finding that women were more at risk than men. However, other risk factors were at play, including social deprivation, being a smoker or former smoker, being obese, and having comorbidities such as depression and fibromyalgia.
For the study’s limitations, Dr. Shamil Haroon, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research and one of the study’s authors, said, “The limitations of our research include that we only considered symptoms that were reported to primary care services. We, therefore, cannot comment on the overall prevalence of these symptoms in the general population, since many people with long Covid may not necessarily report their symptoms to their general practitioners.”