Even when she approached 50 and became aware that perimenopause was approaching, Pamela Jock has always had regular periods. However, her cycle started to alter soon after she received the second dose of the two-series COVID-19 vaccine in June 2020. It might be perimenopause at 52, but Jock couldn’t help but wonder if the vaccine hadn’t had a part. It turns out that her hunch was correct—maybe.
An extensive investigation on the potential connection between the COVID vaccine and irregular periods was recently published in The BMJ. More than 30,000 reports of cycle changes to the United Kingdom’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency sparked the research, which was directed by Alison Edelman, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Oregon Health & Science University (MHRA).
More than 20,000 women from around the world were included in the study using information from the period-tracking software Natural Cycles. The three menstrual cycles before immunisation and at least one cycle following were taken into account by the researchers. In a group that had not gotten the vaccine, they equated this to four menstrual cycles.
Anemia was discovered in subsequent bloodwork, possibly as a result. When she inquired about a possible connection between vaccinations and irregular cycles, the doctor “didn’t think there was a relationship, and that it was definitely perimenopause,” claims Jock.
According to Esther Goldsmith, an exercise physiologist with bio-analytics firm Orreco, the connection between the COVID vaccine and menstrual cycle alterations can result from a number of factors, whether in the age range of the study participants or beyond, like Jock.
She claims that the timing of your vaccine may have an impact. We are aware that alterations in oestrogen and progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle can have an impact on our immunological responses. That’s why I believe it’s extremely intriguing that the study showed that individuals who got two dosages in the same cycle were most affected.”
Orreco’s data collection, which frequently concentrates on female athletes, has demonstrated that the vaccination can have additional effects that may be relevant.
Additionally, according to Goldsmith, “we’ve discovered that the vaccine can influence oxidative stress and inflammation, which we detect through point-of-care blood analysis.” By inference, the vaccine may potentially cause a shift in the symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle because inflammation can affect symptoms.
According to Shaghayegh DeNoble, MD, of Advanced Gynecology and Laparoscopy of North Jersey, several patients report that after receiving the vaccine as well as following a COVID infection, their periods arrived later than anticipated or were heavier than usual.
I tell them that a variety of factors, such as stress, seasonal changes, and travel, can affect our cyclical patterns. There are no long-term repercussions, and this occurs frequently. Their cycles will return to normal, I assure them.
According to the study, most patients returned to normal one to two cycles after receiving the vaccination, which is consistent with what DeNoble’s patients also stated.
Making Minds Easy
Goldsmith and DeNoble both highlight that the doses have no effect on fertility, despite the possibility that there is a link between the vaccine and irregular menstrual cycles that has been shown by the studies.
Women frequently call DeNoble, concerned that because their periods weren’t regular, their fertility would also be at jeopardy. But the vaccine hasn’t had a negative impact on fertility.
Jock expresses her gratitude for the fact that she is no longer concerned with her fertility. She acknowledges, “I would probably be concerned if it were.
Such worries are unfounded, according to Goldsmith, who urges women to disregard their concerns. An atypical period, according to her, is a perfectly normal reaction to something that is physically difficult for your body to handle. When it comes to changes in diet, lifestyle, stress, or immunological function, menstrual periods can be highly sensitive. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise us if it reacts to things like immunizations. Although it’s certainly not a novel occurrence, there may not have been any prior records of it.
With the research findings in hand, DeNoble asserts that it will be simpler to inform patients on what to anticipate from boosters.
She asserts that “it’s crucial for us to be able to set patients’ minds at ease while also being able to warn them about potential adverse effects.”
Women should monitor their menstrual cycles and note any changes, vaccine-related or not, according to Goldsmith.
To lessen the stress on the body during these times, she advises that we all pay attention to our cycles and make sure we’re taking care of ourselves.
Jock is keeping an eye on what transpires when she shortly takes the bivalent COVID vaccine because she will never know for sure if her irregular periods were brought on by the vaccine or perimenopause. She says, “I’m interested to see if this takes me along the same route.
Jock says she has no regrets about taking the vaccine, adding that she would much rather stay healthy and avoid COVID than deal with the inconvenience of an atypical cycle.