Clinical studies on multiple COVID-19 vaccines have disregarded effects of vaccines on women’s menstruation.
There were countless complaints to doctors about related symptoms soon after immunizations were made available to the general population. Many women became aware of heavier-than-normal periods.
The authors of a recent survey on the subject that was published in the journal Science Advances wrote that, initially, some practitioners were dismissive. According to authors, “in media coverage, medical professionals and public health specialists raced to argue that there was ‘no biological mechanism’ or ‘no data’ to indicate a connection between vaccination delivery and menstruation abnormalities.”
Experts thus concluded that these changes were more likely the outcome of “stress“. However, such side effects are not unheard of, as irregular menstruation has occasionally been linked to typhoid, Hepatitis B, and HPV vaccines.
In April 2021, researchers began surveying vaccinated women to attain a better understanding of implications of the COVID-19 vaccine on menstruation. There were over 39,000 responses. Of these individuals who offered responses, 91 percent identified as women while the remaining nine percent were gender nonconforming.
Based on survey results, 44 percent of these individuals with regular menstruation cycles reported seeing no changes, while 41 percent reported an increase in their menstruation flow after having received the vaccination.
Amongst those with an irregular cycle, breakthrough bleeding was reported by: 71 percent of those using long-acting reversible contraceptives; 39 percent of those using gender-affirming hormones; and 66 percent of postmenopausal adults.
Study Based On Self Reported Experiences
A heavier flow after immunization was more likely to be reported by older adults, non-white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents, and those who experienced a fever or weariness after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Those with endometriosis, menorrhagia, or fibroids also reported heavier menstrual flows.
The study relied on self-reported experiences. Of course, such studies can be challenging; thus, it is too soon for researchers to draw any inferences about what findings might signify. Menstruating women, for instance, might have been more inclined to reply to the poll.
Researchers are unable to conclusively state that the vaccine was the source of these changes, or, if it was, how or why the vaccine might have affected menstrual cycles.
One theory is that menstrual changes may be the result of immune system reactions to the vaccine. According to the study, “generally, variations in menstrual bleeding are not unusual or harmful, but attention to these experiences is vital [in order] to develop confidence in medicine.”
In a press statement, co-author Katharine Lee, a professor of anthropology at Tulane University, stated, that “we anticipate that for most people,…changes related to COVID-19 vaccination are short-term. We recommend anyone who is concerned to contact their doctor for additional care.”
Experts maintain that obtaining the vaccine is one of the most reliable methods in avoiding severe COVID-19 related illness, which can lead to hospitalization, long-term COVID, and even death.