Victoria Male, professor of digestion and metabolism at Imperial College London, published a Perspectives article in the journal Science address reports of COVID-19 vaccines having various impacts on menstruation. In her article, she notes that research so far has shown that such vaccines can cause small, temporary changes in menstruation.
Shortly after vaccines were introduced to protect people against COVID-19, women around the world began to report changes in their periods after being vaccinated – some noticed longer cycles and others heavier bleeding. Because the reports didn’t suggest problems serious enough to investigate, the vaccine makers didn’t include menstrual impact tests in their trials.
Male suggests the result has been a reluctance on the part of some women to get vaccinated, fearing it could lead to other unknown issues, such as fertility issues. And that, she adds, has fueled the fire of disinformation campaigns targeting COVID-19 vaccines.
In his article, Male notes that other researchers have since looked into the matter by conducting studies and, in doing so, found evidence showing that some COVID-19 vaccines do indeed impact the menstrual cycle — although, such impacts have proven to be both small and temporary, she notes. She also points out that it’s still unclear why this is happening.
She suggests it might have something to do with the cytokines produced after inoculation and their impact on the signaling that occurs between the pituitary, hypothalamus and ovaries. Another possibility, she suggests, is that vaccines may have an as-yet-unknown impact on immune cells involved in repairing tissues in the lining of the womb after they are shed during menstruation. She also notes that it’s still unclear whether being infected with COVID-19 impacts the menstrual cycle.
Male observes that testing of new drugs in general generally does not include measurements taken to determine whether they impact the menstrual cycle – a situation she suggests the medical community should consider. Such efforts, she notes, even if nothing is found, would go a long way to reassuring women that gender issues are taken seriously.
Victoria Male, COVID-19 vaccination and menstruation, Science (2022). DOI: 10.1126/science.ade1051
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Quote: COVID-19 vaccinations found to cause small temporary changes in menstruation (November 18, 2022) Retrieved November 18, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-11-covid-vaccinations-small- temporary-menstruation.html
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