It’s common knowledge that the symptoms associated with having COVID-19 feel a lot like the flu with people reporting high fevers, exhaustion, runny noses and dry coughs, as well as a loss of taste and smell. These symptoms last two weeks on average, although some people report a loss in their taste and smell for much longer. Even those who have opted to receive the COVID vaccine feel flu-like symptoms such as exhaustion and some nose and throat irritation. But what do we know about other effects COVID and the COVID vaccine can have on a person? Is there a causal link between COVID, the COVID vaccine, and period pains and changes in one’s cycle such as a missed period after COVID or a missed period after the COVID-19 vaccine? We’ve done some digging and compiled helpful information for you to better understand what exactly is happening to your cycle post COVID-19/COVID-19 vaccine.
Is COVID-19 (or the vaccine) really messing with your period?
A number of people have reported heavier flows and bleeding at unexpected times in their menstrual cycle after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (1). Others have reported missing their period altogether due to having had COVID-19 or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as well as changes in the pain they experience throughout the cycle (2).
Well, what do the numbers say?
NICHD recently awarded five institutions one-year supplemental grants totaling $1.67 million to explore potential links between COVID-19 vaccination and menstrual changes. Researchers at Boston University, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Oregon Health and Science University will investigate whether such changes may be linked to the COVID-19 vaccine itself or if they are coincidental, the mechanism underlying any vaccine-related changes, and how long any changes last (3). Boston University’s School of Public Health will look for evidence of COVID vaccines affecting periods through Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO), the NIH-funded online study that follows women trying to conceive from preconception through six months after birth. The study has been collecting data since 2013 on many aspects of female health and fertility, including regularly asking participants questions about their menstrual cycles and inviting them to use a menstrual charting app. Using PRESTO data, they will “evaluate SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and changes in menstruation during six cycles of follow-up”(4). This will help to shine more light on why someone may experience a change in their pain, flow or why they’ve missed their period after the COVID vaccine.
There’s certainly a call from medical professionals to investigate more thoroughly the effects of COVID-19 and the vaccines. To date, none of the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers list any issues pertaining to menstrual health as a side effect. However, more than 30,000 people reported menstrual cycle changes following vaccination to the MHRA in the UK. Most people who report experiencing changes to their menstrual cycle say things typically return to normal by the next cycle. Importantly, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility (5).
Did you miss your period after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (or during the pandemic)?
As with all vaccines and medicines, side effects are common although some are more common than others. Doctors and medical professionals are obligated to report any negative patient-related outcomes to the pharmaceutical companies producing the vaccine or medicine. They, in turn, are obligated to record and investigate the threat that this may pose to an individual’s health as well as the proportion of people experiencing this side effect. If you’ve experienced a missed period after receiving the COVID vaccine, please ensure that you report this to your doctor and that you also reach out to the pharmaceutical company directly.
It’s also important to assess how your lifestyle changes due to the COVID pandemic altogether might be affecting you or someone you know. Understanding the factors that can impact a person’s menstrual cycle is key in understanding if and how the COVID-19 vaccine might be affecting someone’s health. Most of us have probably had an increase in stress due to the pandemic and its consequences on our work or family life. Also, everyone’s body is slightly different, so everyone’s bodily reaction to receiving the vaccine may differ from person to person.
Perifit: strengthen your pelvic floor with games and take the guesswork out of Kegels
The Perifit Kegel trainer comes with provides you with instant feedback on your pelvic floor strength and the quality of your contractions (Kegels) by using the probe and mobile app. This device uses an app, which can be accessed through your smartphone, to provide pelvic floor training to all users regardless of age or pelvic floor condition. Perifit offers a fun and engaging way to practice your Kegels and give you the confidence to lead your life without the fear of any potential embarrassing moments.
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- npr, ‘Why Reports Of Menstrual Changes After COVID Vaccine Are Tough To Study’ date accessed on 10/14/2021: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/08/09/1024190379/COVID-vaccine-period-menstrual-cycle-research
- Quartz, ‘The CDC is finally listening to women about vaccines’ date accessed on 10/14/2021 https://qz.com/2045518/does-the-COVID-19-vaccine-affect-womens-periods/
- National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Research, ‘COVID-19 Vaccines and the Menstrual Cycle NIH encourages researchers to investigate reported changes in menstruation after COVID-19 vaccination’ accessed on 10/14/2021: https://COVID19.nih.gov/news-and-stories/COVID-19-vaccines-and-menstrual-cycle
- Boston University, ‘Do COVID Vaccines Affect Menstruation’ date accessed on 10/15/2021: https://www.bu.edu/articles/2021/do-COVID-vaccines-affect-menstruation/
- Medical News Today, ‘Do COVID-19 Vaccines Affect Menstrual Cycles ? Expert calls for investigation’ date accessed on 10/14/2021 : https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/do-COVID-19-vaccines-affect-menstrual-cycles-expert-calls-for-investigation#Vaccines-and-period-changes
- Perifit, ‘Strengthen your pelvic floor with games’ Perifit, date accessed on 10/15/2021: https://perifit.co/