Five teams will begin investigating a possible link between irregular menstrual cycles and the COVID-19 vaccine later this year due to reports of irregular periods after taking the vaccine.
Some of the symptoms patients describe include painful periods, irregular menstrual cycles, and heavy bleeding. Some patients who are post-menopausal have reported their first periods in years.
So far, there is no direct link between the vaccine and irregular menstrual cycles; however, no one investigated the possibility during the trial of the vaccine.
Because of this insufficient data, teams at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, Boston University, Michigan State University, and Oregon Health and Science University will conduct studies of people of all ages and backgrounds who have not received the vaccine in order to study the cycles before and after the shot.
The studies will be backed by the National Institutes of Health and will take approximately a year to complete.
“Researchers will assess the prevalence and severity of post-vaccination changes to menstrual characteristics including flow, cycle length, pain and other symptoms,” said the NIH in a press release. “Several projects also seek to unravel the mechanisms underlying the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on the menstrual cycle by examining immune and hormonal characteristics in blood, tissue and saliva samples taken before and after COVID-19 vaccination.”
Having an irregular cycle is not uncommon. Possible reasons include stress, illness, or lifestyle changes. Periods, including the length and flow of a menstrual cycle, can also vary widely.
Dr. Hugh Taylor, chairman of the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, said he has heard from his patients about a difference in their cycles after taking the shot.
“A lot of people have irregular menstruation for all sorts of reasons," Taylor told the New York Times. "So is this really different in people with the vaccine, or is it just that when people have it, they are linking it to the vaccine?”
Doctors are still encouraging patients to take the vaccine in the meantime, stating the drug is still effective, safe, and needed in order to end the pandemic.
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Original Author: Misty Severi