Earlier this year, BUST investigated claims that the COVID-19 vaccine may be having an impact on people’s menstrual cycles. Today, more research has been carried out regarding COVID vaccines and menstruation. On August 30th, the NIH announced that it has awarded $1.67 billion worth of one-year supplemental grants to conduct these studies on the correlation between vaccines and menstruation. We have taken a look at how this research has been updated and encourage you to still get vaccinated.
In recent weeks, some people across the US who menstruate have taken to Twitter to report changes in their periods since having the COVID-19vaccination. Such tweets include one by Dr. Kathryn Clancy, who claimed to have gotten her period “a day or two early”, and another who states that they are “terrified” that they too are experiencing problems.
I’m in shock. #Twitter has shadowbanned period problems relating to the Covid vaccine. I’m having them and I’m so worried, but searching just eliminates the word ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’. This is terrifying.— Devils Advocate Incarnate (@desktopduracell) September 12, 2021
Such problems include people experiencing irregular or missing menstrual periods, heavier bleeding, and other menstrual changes. However, research shows that this is just a short-term issue and that fertility will not be affected. Thus everyone, including those who menstruate, should still get vaccinated. It has been noted in research that these symptoms should only last for one or two months (during your period) and won’t leave any long-lasting problems. The NIH said that there are various reasons why your menstrual cycles may change, as it is "regulated by complex interactions between the body's tissues, cells and hormones." The NIH explained that COVID-19 vaccine immune responses may affect how immune cells and signals in the uterus work together, which would lead to temporary menstrual cycle changes. Changes in menstruation may also be down to infection with SARS-CoV-2, lifestyle changes resulting from the pandemic, and pandemic-related stress. Prior to the pandemic, stress has always had an effect on period regularity. Thus, there is no surprise that the stress of the pandemic and new vaccinations may cause changes to the menstrual cycle.
Writing in the BMJ, Dr Victoria Male, from Imperial College London, says that there is no evidence to show that the vaccines will affect pregnancy or fertility and that anyone who is pregnant should still get vaccinated.
While Dr. Male acknowledges that no one should be worried about the vaccines affecting their menstruation, she believes that notifying patients about the potential menstruation symptoms is the way forward so that should anyone experience a change in their periods, they know not to worry. Nonetheless, if the situation you are experiencing is dire and out of the ordinary then contact a doctor immediately as your symptoms may be non-related to the vaccine, and instead a symptom of another blood-related condition.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Director Diana W. Bianchi speaks similarly, saying “These rigorous scientific studies will improve our understanding of the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on menstruation, giving people who menstruate more information about what to expect after vaccination and potentially reducing vaccine hesitancy.”
Therefore, you need not worry about the vaccine creating an impact on your menstrual cycle and can ignore any myths you may read on social media.
Tilly O'Brien is an English Literature Graduate, starting an Ma in International Journalism at the University of Leeds, UK. Tilly writes for various British blogs including the Leeds Tab and has her own travel blog which you can follow here: https://tillytravels.live-website.com/