As of the date and time of this blog, around 4,000 women have reported problematic periods after receiving the Coronavirus vaccination in Great Britain alone and thousands more in the United States. At your vaccine appointment, you will probably be warned of possible side effects – fever, headache, a sore arm for a day or two afterwards. Changes to the menstrual cycle will not appear on the list.
The number of women suffering from period problems will definitely be higher because many don’t take the time to report them through official channels. The stats obtained by the Sunday Times, have raised questions about the omission of menstrual cycle changes not being listed with other potential side effects.
Dr. Kate Clancy, a medical anthropologist, shared on Twitter her experience of an unusually heavy period following the Moderna vaccine, and received dozens of similar accounts in response. With former colleague Dr Katharine Lee, she launched a survey documenting people’s experiences.
Dr. Victoria Male, a reproductive immunologist at Imperial College London, said some post-menopausal women, and people taking hormones which stop their periods, have reported bleeding. So she’s inclined to suspect there may be a physical reaction occurring. Up to a quarter of women of childbearing age experience menstrual irregularities, which can include heavier or lighter than usual bleeding, delayed or early periods and more painful cramps.
Dr. Yvonne K. Scarlett, of Red Lotus Wellness Center in Carlsbad, has been keeping up with women during this time. Fertility experts like herself, are in high demand these days to monitor the health of expecting mothers.
The womb lining is part of the immune system – in fact there are immune cells in almost every part of the body.
Immune cells play a role in building up, maintaining and breaking down the lining of the uterus – which thickens to prepare for a pregnancy, and then sheds in the form of a period if the egg is not fertilized.
After vaccination, lots of chemical signals which have the potential to affect immune cells are circulating round the body. This could cause the womb lining to shed, and lead to spotting or earlier periods, Dr Male explained.
Is Miscarriage Possible
This doesn’t mean there is any link to miscarriages though – during pregnancy different processes maintain the womb lining, including the presence of the placenta – the organ linking the fetus to its mother’s blood supply.
Dr Male said there is now extensive evidence from women who have had the jab which suggests they are at no higher risk of pregnancy loss. What we do know, though is that other infections are linked to miscarriage and having Covid during pregnancy has been linked to pre-term delivery, according to Dr Alexandra Alvergne at the University of Oxford.
She said there was a plausible link between the vaccine and menstrual changes, as the timing of ovulation (when an egg is released) can be affected by inflammation.
This can be the case when people are sick and have a fever, but vaccines also cause an inflammatory response in the body – it’s all part of your immune system firing up and starting to produce the antibodies and other cells that fight disease.
There is also some evidence from a previous study that people with signs of inflammation from infection had more painful periods.
While, these effects may be temporary, it is recommended to monitor yourself closely. This is not a call for anxiety but simply to watch out for unusual changes your body may be going through if you’ve taken the Covid-19 vaccine. Dr. Y. K. Scarlett is specializing in women’s health and can come alongside you to monitor your health and pregnancy. She recommends the assistance of a professional to ensure the safety of the pregnant mother and her baby.
Let’s not freak out but rather, keep calm and seek a health professional to help you navigate these unusual waters.