Don’t worry – the COVID vaccine might affect your period, but it’s only temporary

In the spring of 2021, when there are more people Get vaccinated against COVID-19, some people start menstruating Their periods were slightly off.

Anecdotal stories detail heavier flows or delayed cycles. People who think they’ve had menopause and are done bleeding. As the stories passed, many researchers began to wonder: Vaccines against covid-19 affect the menstrual cycle? Or do people just pay more attention to their cycles, as more anecdotes emerge?

At the same time, doctors are then fighting misinformation that makes it difficult to chat around the menstrual cycle and COVID-19 vaccines without giving a lot of misinformation about vaccines and fertility. (Learn continue to show that they do not affect each other). But researchers like Dr. Katharine Lee, a postdoctoral scholar in the public health sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, who joined the April 2021 conversations that Salon reported – argues that these conversations have brought science to where it is today.

Meaning, we finally have some answers around how the COVID-19 vaccine affects the period.

A study published in Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology discovered last week that people’s menstrual cycles changed after being vaccinated against the coronavirus. Specifically, the authors reported that those who were vaccinated had a slightly longer duration than those who were not. The study was funded in part by the Office of Women’s Health Research of the National Institutes of Health.

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Lee, who was not involved in the study, told Salon: “I think this newly published study would not have existed, if those discussions had not taken place last spring and summer. “I think it’s an important step in the way that different types of data come together to help us understand a problem or phenomenon a little better.”

The study analyzed data provided by a company called Natural Cycles, an app that tracks menstrual cycles. Notably, these users were not using hormonal contraception. The researchers reviewed records from nearly 4,000 people who agreed to use their information as part of the study. Nearly 2,400 of them have been immunized against COVID-19; 1,550 no. All users are between the ages of 18 and 45 and are tracking their cycles carefully in the app for the past six months.

Overall, the researchers found that on average, vaccination was associated with a change in cycle length of less than a day. However, a small group of people who received both doses of the vaccine in one cycle experienced a change of at least two days in their cycle. Almost 10% of these people reported having cycles that were 8 days longer than usual, which is clinically significant. There was no significant difference in the unvaccinated group. The authors note that people who have experienced delays often get back to their base cycle lengths quickly.

Although the paper is an important first step, Lee – who conducted a survey last year to gather anecdotal experiences – said it is limiting in a number of ways.

“I think cycle length is an important metric that is only part of the variability of the menstrual cycle, but what we heard last year and hopefully we’ll be announcing soon, is that Some people are concerned that they bleed more, and Lee said, “And this paper restricts it to people who aren’t using birth control, which would take a lot of people out of the sample and it’s irrelevant. people who don’t normally experience breakthrough bleeding, whether it’s those who are using an IUD, or sex-affirming hormones, or those who are post-menopausal. “

However, Lee says it highlights “we need to be more aware of how the menstrual cycles work.”

Lee added: “I think this shows the need to listen to people when they report changes in their menstrual cycle that are not an actual problem. “I think about gathering this information as part of all sorts of clinical trials in the future, just so people don’t get surprised when things like this happen and we learn a little more about it. how responsive the menstrual cycle is to things like major immune stressors.”

More on the fight against COVID-19: Don’t worry – the COVID vaccine might affect your period, but it’s only temporary

Caroline Bleakley

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