Women of child-bearing age with hepatitis C showed early signs of menopause, putting them at greater risk for infertility, gestational diabetes and miscarriage, according to a recently published study. Sustained virologic response positively impacted these outcomes.

“We report that the relationship between HCV infection and reproductive status in women is much deeper and broader than previously thought, with profound consequences for reproductive function confirmed in cohorts from different countries,” the researchers wrote. “It remains to be assessed whether antiviral therapy at a very early age can positively influence the occurrence of miscarriages and to prevent ovarian senescence. … The effect of treatment with new generation antiviral drugs could therefore be prospectively assessed with this dual purpose.”

“A key result of our study concerns the association between HCV infection and risk of miscarriage,” the researchers concluded. “These results point to a specific relationship between HCV infection, ovarian function, and reproductive efficiency, suggesting that the premature ovarian senescence observed in [HCV-positive] women, as indicated by the early and significant AMH decline, has a profound effect on reproductive function.”

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