Twitter is abuzz with vaccinated women sharing the after effects of the shots to their menstrual cycles. From delayed periods, to extra heavy flow, to light spotting and everything in between. Not surprisingly though, there is no research that links heavy or irregular and painful periods to the coronavirus vaccines.
Experts say it is hard to pinpoint the exact causes of these changes, more so because period symptoms weren’t recorded during the vaccine trials.
If you are also thinking about the status of your periods after getting vaccinated, we have curated some helpful FAQs.
FAQs: Periods After Covid Vaccine
1. Will I get my periods on time after getting the COVID vaccine?
Yes and no. Two Yale University experts wrote in The New York Times recently, “So far, there are no data linking the vaccines to changes in menstruation.”
But they further highlight that there could well be a connection. The word that needs to be highlighted here is “so far.” This means that due to less research on the subject, at the moment there is no conclusive evidence on whether the COVID vaccine can affect your periods.
Twitterati are also divided; with some women getting their periods a few days prior to the date due, while others getting it a few days late. It could really depend on your body.
2. How can COVID vaccine affect my menstrual cycle?
Dr Danielle Jones, a gynaecologist was quoted in HuffPost as saying, “Menstruation is a complex process, which can be influenced by many factors, such as environmental changes, stress, sleep and some medications.”
“When your immune system is ramped up because you’re vaccinated or sick, you may experience changes in how the endometrium reacts,” she added.
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus that is considered to be an active part of the immune system. Dr Jones, therefore, points out that it won’t be shocking if the vaccine can affect menstruation. But, there is more research and data required to make a definitive conclusion.
What are the changes that I will experience after COVID vaccine?
1. Flow of the cycle
A researcher at the University of Illinois shared her experience on Twitter and asked if other women also saw menstrual changes after vaccination.
She wrote, “A colleague told me she has heard from others that their periods were heavy post-vax. I’m curious whether other menstruators have noticed changes too? I’m a week and a half out from dose 1 of Moderna, got my period maybe a day or so early, and am gushing like I’m in my 20s again.”
In another post she mentioned, “I’m on day 3 of my period and am still swapping out extra long overnight pads a few times a day. Typical for me at this time is maybe one or two regular pads (though extra absorbent, Always Infinity ones) for the whole day.”
There were other women who experienced heavy periods after a covid vaccine. A user shared, “I had my first covid vaccine in March (Astra Zeneca) the day before my period was due. It came on time and was super heavy (so much so I called 111) I made a GP apt and the doc actually laughed at me when I asked if it could be linked to the vaccine.”
2. Pain and irregularity
Image courtesy: istockphoto
Another user named, “Reneice” spoke about her painful period after COVID vaccine.
She wrote, “This thread just brought me so much relief! My period following the 1st Moderna dose came a week early and was the most painful I’ve ever had. After the second dose, it came almost two weeks late and my cycle has been regular for years so I knew it was the vaccine but felt scared to say so.”
3. Bleeding in women with menopause
One woman shared, “I will be 65 in July and I have not had a period in 5 or more years but I started bleeding about 4 days ago and it is fairly heavy. But what is even stranger is I have been experiencing severe dry skin and overnight my skin is soft like it used to be before menopause.”
4. Extreme mood swings
During our menstrual cycle, we all experience changes in our mood. But, this woman shared that it was not what she experiences normally.
She wrote, “In addition to menstruating 10 days early (I’m normally very regular) I also had extreme sadness, hopelessness, and irritability. The mood hit like a wave along with very heavy bleeding. This isn’t my normal and it was very scary! 1st Pfizer.” Reiterating the point again that there is no research to confirm if these symptoms can be linked to COVID vaccine.
So basically, the common changes you can experience include a change in the date, flow of your period, change in cycle length, change in behaviour thanks to fluctuating hormones, and even spotting.
But the good news is that as the vaccine settles into your body, it would resume its regular functioning as before.
Another point to note is that the vaccine won’t affect all women the same way. Some may not notice any changes, while other may see all or some of these changes listed.
3. Are these symptoms permanent?
Dr Jones mentioned that any changes that you experience in your menstrual cycle after getting the vaccine are temporary.
She was quoted saying, “The COVID-19 vaccine should not permanently change or alter your menstrual cycle. If your symptoms last for more than a few cycles, talk to your health care provider.”
Doc points out that since the changes are temporary, it shouldn’t be a reason not to get a shot.
4. How can I get relief from a painful and heavy menstrual cycle?
For those experiencing painful and heavy periods, here’s how you can get some relief.
Take over-the-counter medicine
After taking the vax, if you are experiencing cramps and fatigue, you must consult with your doctor about taking medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines.
These will help you get relief from any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting your shot. The CDC website cautions not to take these medicines before vaccination to prevent side effects.
Image courtesy: iStock
It is extremely important to stay hydrated to reduce discomfort from fever. You need to increase the intake of fluids, be it water, tea, or sparkling water. As you know, liquids in the body help to detoxify and cleanse the system, thereby eliminating toxins and keeping your digestive tract healthy. It is advisable to drink around eight glasses of water every day.
Use a heat pad
You can get relief from the symptoms of painful periods by use heat therapy. Place a heating pad on your abdomen and lower back for 15-20 minutes. Remove and try again one more time during the day, if the pain doesn’t subside.
Add more iron-rich diet
When you bleed heavily you also lose a lot of iron, which your body needs to produce haemoglobin. Very heavy periods can also sometimes lead to iron deficiency or anaemia. Because of this you may experience fatigue, weakness, and dizziness. So to ensure that your body gets back that lost iron, you must incorporate the following iron-rich foods.
Chicken and turkey
If the symptoms remain for more than one cycle, don’t ignore them. Fix an appointment with your gynaecologist right away.
Disclaimer: We request readers to be careful of fake news circulating on social media that says “vaccines are not safe for girls/women who are on their periods.” Medical experts are trying to work on debunking such myths. So stay away from misinformation that encourages hesitancy among women to get vaccinated.
This article is for informational purposes only. Any medical query must always be directed to certified medical professionals.
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