Possible link between Covid vaccine and disruption in menstrual cycle: Study

Dr Male said that over 30,000 vaccinated women have reported experiencing period problems, including changes to their menstrual cycle
If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals to plan for potentially altered cycles, said a health expert. (HT PHOTO/Representative use)
If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals to plan for potentially altered cycles, said a health expert. (HT PHOTO/Representative use)
Published on Sep 20, 2021 07:46 AM IST
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ByMalavika Murali

People expect to suffer briefly from fever, fatigue and even nausea after receiving Covid-19 vaccine; however, several women have complained that the vaccine also led to disruption of their menstrual cycle. For Arushi Bhaskar, a journalism student, both the doses of the vaccine delayed her menstrual cycle by two weeks.

Arushi said apart from the increased cramps and bleeding, the delayed menstrual cycle also took an emotional toll. “It caused a lot of stress and anxiety because I didn’t know and understand why this was happening to me. It also resulted in bad mood swings and depressive episodes,” she said.

Arushi is not an isolated case. A recent report published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal (BMJ) has stated that there might be a possible link between changes to menstrual cycles and Covid vaccines and that the matter needs further investigation.

The author of the editorial, Dr Victoria Male, from Imperial College London, associates the problem with the body’s immune response, rather than something in the vaccine.

“Menstrual changes have been reported after both mRNA and adenovirus vectored Covid-19 vaccines, suggesting that if there is a connection, it is likely to be a result of the immune response to vaccination rather than a specific vaccine component,” she wrote.

Dr Male said that over 30,000 vaccinated women have reported experiencing period problems, including changes to their menstrual cycle. The reports were made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) surveillance scheme, which was created in the public interest to report adverse side effects.

The expert, however, noted most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycle and, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility.

“One important lesson is that the effects of medical interventions on menstruation should not be an afterthought in future research,” Male said.

If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals seeking vaccination to plan for potentially altered cycles, she explained.

She suggests that doctors should encourage their patients to report any changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding after vaccination to the MHRA’s scheme.

Even though the MHRA has denied the claims and issued a statement saying that it does not support a link between the vaccine and changes in the menstrual cycle, the study shows otherwise.

Apart from researchers from the UK, researchers from the United States of America, Kate Clancy and Katherine Lee, have collected more than 140,000 reports from people who have noticed a change in their period post-vaccination.

Women have also reported the vaccine affecting their menopause. “For me, menopause had properly set in. But then, I took the first dose of the vaccine in April and it triggered periods for the next four months,” said Deepa Gupta.

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Sunday, December 05, 2021