Can The Covid-19 Vaccine Affect My Period?
It’s the new normal. Once you’re given your jab, a medical professional cautions you about all possible side effects, from headaches to blood clotting. While we all may feel like this information is being drilled into our heads, the premise is simple: minimizing panic if side effects do occur.
But what happens when there are unexpected side effects? From what we’re hearing reported by women worldwide, there may be a previously unknown effect appearing for some recipients of the vaccine. In this blog, we’ll delve into this mysterious side effect and hopefully allay some of your doubts. Let’s get right into it!
How is the Vaccine affecting women’s menstrual cycles?
In the weeks following the beginning of the vaccine rollout, a small collective voice could be heard on social media, expressing concerns for their irregular menstrual cycles. As the rollout continued, the voice grew stronger and spoke more readily of heavier flows, menstrual calendar irregularities, painful cramps, and even periods occurring where there had not been periods before.
What Do We Know For Sure?
Dr. Kate Clancy, a medical anthropologist, shared her experience of an unusually heavy period on Twitter following the Moderna vaccine. This revelation prompted dozens of women to share their similar experiences. With former colleague Dr. Katharine Lee, Clancy launched a survey documenting people’s experiences.
Interestingly, several trans men and post-menopausal women who don’t usually have periods spoke to Drs Clancy and Lee, sharing that they had experienced bleeding after the jab.
What Are People Reporting?
While there’s no concrete, scientific evidence to substantiate these claims, their findings remain clear: a substantial number of women are experiencing changes to their menstrual cycle subsequent to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
Is There A Proven Link Between The Covid-19 Vaccine and Menstrual Changes?
To put it simply: no. There are no studies, much less peer-reviewed studies, that have delved into the purported connection. To prove whether these menstrual changes are directly caused by the COVID-19 vaccine, menstrual flow should be monitored during clinical trials of the jab, but this is not typically monitored during clinical trials, which makes identifying it as a proven side effect extremely challenging.
However, there are biological functions that take the status of the issue from questionable to plausible. It’s worth noting that the womb is part of the body’s immune system. Our immune cells play a significant role in the building up and shedding of our wombs lining. But don’t take our word for it; Dr. Victoria Male, a reproductive immunologist at Imperial College London, states, “After vaccination, lots of chemical signals which have the potential to affect immune cells are circulating the body. This could cause the womb lining to shed, and lead to spotting or earlier periods.”
And from Dr Clancy:
“We know from 30-40 years of studying the menstrual cycle that it is very responsive, it’s possible the vaccine could alter a person’s menstrual cycle. But after that one cycle, it should return to normal.”
In short, it’s nothing to worry about. In fact, it follows the trend of other such vaccines causing period changes. It’s the expected knock-on result of changes in your immune systems equilibrium.
Can These Side Effects Harm Fertility?
Understandably, one of the most pressing questions following this side effect is if it has any long-term effects on a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a baby to term. Fortunately, the general consensus from medical experts is that since the changes are entirely natural and provoked by the immune system, women’s fertility should remain largely unscathed.
With every new vaccine, medicine, or formula, there’s always speculation around knock-on health effects. The Covid-19 vaccine is no different. Everyone’s body will react differently to its intricate components, and some women’s immune systems will react by altering their menstrual cycles – it’s really as simple as that. As of now, health experts are telling recently vaccinated women that they have nothing to worry about. Looking back over the years at side effects from other vaccines, it appears that changes to the menstrual cycle are nothing out of the norm. And perhaps more pertinent still, there’s no direct link between impaired fertility and Covid-19 side-effects.. Although more studies need to be done, the early data show that the opposite of these rumors is true: pregnant mothers who receive the vaccine do so safely. Infection with SARS-CoV-2, on the other hand, has raised concerns among researchers about the risk it poses to a developing fetus. While we expect to see a bigger scientific focus on this silent side effect in the future, for now, we can confidently say that it’s really nothing to worry about.
A final word from Dr Clancy:
“You’re so much better off getting one cycle that’s off from the vaccine than having long COVID where your body’s struggling to get back to normal – if you survive. Long COVID could be a year of disrupted menstrual cycles. It could be a lifetime of menstrual cycle disruption’”
If you would like to contribute to Dr Kate Clancy’s research, please follow the link below:
The roughly 15-minute survey is open to people ages 18 and up who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and currently have menstrual cycles or had them in past. https://redcap.healthinstitute.illinois.edu/surveys/index.php?s=LL8TKKC8DP