There is no evidence that the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines affect your period. Your menstrual cycle can change due to stress, diet, shifts in your sleep schedule, and sickness. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect yourself and others from severe illness.
If you are concerned about changes in your menstrual cycle, it never hurts to get checked by a healthcare professional. A membership with Mira can help you access affordable urgent care visits and lab testing for only $45 per month.
Reports of Menstrual Changes After COVID-19 Vaccination
There have been anecdotal reports of irregular periods after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Some of the changes women have reported include longer or heavier periods than what they usually experience. In most instances, it appears as if these changes in menstruation are short-lasting and correct on their own.
While these reports have been concerning for many women, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest a link between COVID-19 vaccination and changes in menstruation. The number of reports of irregular periods is very low compared to the number of people who have gotten vaccinated and is not significantly higher than the percent of people who experience menstrual changes in the general population.
Although current data does not support a link between COVID-19 vaccination and abnormal periods, the NIH is funding five studies to explore this topic further to give women more clear answers on any linkages between vaccinations and menstruation. These studies will specifically be looking at changes in flow, cycle length, and pain, among other symptoms women, experience during their periods.
If there is any relationship between the COVID-19 vaccination and menstruation, researchers suggest that irregular periods could be caused by the body’s immune response to the vaccine rather than the actual materials in the vaccine. Therefore, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still recommends that women get vaccinated and note that there is no need to schedule vaccination around your menstruation cycle.
Reasons for Change in Your Menstrual Cycle
In general, menstrual cycles begin every 21 to 35 days and last about 2 to 7 days; however, there is a variation from person to person. If you notice abnormalities in the frequency or duration of your period in addition to irregular bleeding or symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.
Your period may be irregular for various reasons, including the following:
- Emotional, physical, or chemical stress (caused by new medications)
- Drastic changes in sleep, exercise routine, or diet
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Birth control pills
In addition, the NIH notes that this past year women may have experienced changes in menstruation due to stress caused by the pandemic, changes in lifestyle, and previous infection with COVID-19.
Tips To Regulate Your Period
The COVID-19 pandemic and social restrictions have put a lot of financial and social stress on all of us, which could contribute to irregular periods. Below we outline some tips to help reduce stress and regulate your period. If you are ever concerned about your menstruation cycle or are experiencing severe symptoms, you should consult your doctor.
- Get adequate sleep: Think quality and quantity. Sleep disturbances can have a more significant influence on your period than you think. In addition to sleeping at least seven hours per night, a nightly routine can help you relax better before bed to get optimal sleep.
- Exercise: Exercise can help manage your hormone levels and regulate your period. If you are experiencing symptoms such as cramps, exercise can help alleviate these symptoms as well.
- Be mindful of your diet: Eating too much or too little can negatively affect your menstrual cycle. In addition, people who are very overweight or underweight may have irregular periods.
- Consider vitamins or supplements: Some vitamins have been shown to regulate ovulation. For example, some studies show that vitamin D can regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Talk to your doctor about birth control: If you have experienced irregular periods for an extended period of time, your gynecologist may suggest taking hormonal birth control as a way to regulate your period.
- Meditate: Relaxing your body starts with relaxing your mind. There are many different apps for anyone from newbies to experts in meditation.
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COVID-19 Vaccination and Menstrual Cycle Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following section discusses some commonly asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations and menstruation. If you still have questions about the vaccine and your period, you should contact your healthcare provider.
What if I missed my period after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you miss a period after the COVID-19 vaccination, do not panic. Many factors and changes in your life can cause a missed period. Take notes of the current stressors in your life and recent changes in your diet, sleep schedule, and exercise routine.
If you are still concerned about recent changes in your menstrual cycle or these issues do not resolve, reach out to your OB-GYN or make an appointment at your local urgent care to speak to a provider. Mira can help you find an appointment today.
Does COVID-19 infection affect menstruation?
Preliminary research has shown that women who were infected with COVID-19 experienced changes to their period. For example, one study conducted in China found that about 20% of participants exhibited a change in menstruation after having COVID-19. Some women have also reported anecdotes of irregular periods for months after recovery from COVID, with symptoms including increased blood clotting, heavier bleeding, and worse PMS.
While doctors are unclear about why COVID-19 may affect menstruation, some believe it could be due to high levels of stress during infection. Others believe that the COVID-19 virus itself could potentially affect reproductive organs. Therefore, it is highly recommended to get vaccinated to protect against potential long-term side effects caused by the virus.
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How are side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines being monitored?
The COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized by the FDA were extensively tested and are still being monitored. The CDC has an intense, robust safety monitoring system called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to track reports of adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone can report possible side effects or health problems that happen after vaccination, and scientists will investigate the report.
In addition, the CDC and other institutions have established many monitoring systems to specifically protect vulnerable populations such as pregnant people, such as the V-Safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry.
- Trying to get pregnant now
- Or might become pregnant in the future
Do COVID-19 vaccines alter our DNA?
No, COVID-19 vaccines do not alter our DNA. Vaccines work by delivering instructions to cells to help them build immunity. These instructions, in the form of genetic material, never enter the nucleus of the cell where our DNA is kept. For more information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, read our article on debunking COVID-19 vaccine myths.
During times of extreme stress, it is possible to see changes in your period. It is your body’s way of adjusting your hormones to cope with outside stressors and schedule changes. In addition to incorporating some stress-relieving practices into your routine, you can always check in with a healthcare professional to rule out more serious concerns.
If you are uninsured or do not currently have an OB-GYN or primary care physician, Mira can help you access low-cost urgent care visits for only $45 per month, and you can start seeking care today!
Alexis Bryan MPH, is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is passionate about increasing access to care to improve health outcomes. Outside of work, she loves to travel, read, and pay too much attention to her plants.