Period changes after Covid jab could occur ‘by chance’, say gynaecologists

It comes after data suggested that almost 4,000 women had reported changes after they received a vaccine.
Period changes after Covid jab could occur ‘by chance’, say gynaecologists

A health worker administers a dose of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to a woman at a shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, May 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Alterations to usual period patterns among some women after they received a Covid-19 jab could have occurred “by chance”, leading gynaecologists have said.

Experts at the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said that many women experience a temporary change to their periods in their lifetime, so for some women the change may occur around the time they receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

But RCOG said that anecdotally some women had reported heavier periods after receiving the vaccine and it said it would support “more data collection in this area to understand why this might be the case”.

It comes after data suggested that almost 4,000 women had reported changes after they received a vaccine.

The Sunday Times reported that the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had 2,734 reports after women had received the AstraZeneca vaccine, 1,158 related to the Pfizer jab, and 66 linked to the Moderna vaccine up to May 17.

The most reported issue was heavier bleeding than usual.

Commenting on the figures, Dr Pat O’Brien, vice president for membership at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “It’s important to remember these side effects are mild and should not deter women from having the vaccine when they are called.

“Many women will experience a temporary change in their periods from time to time during their lives. And right now, many women in their 20s and 30s are having the Covid vaccine.

“So it seems inevitable that in some women these two events will coincide by chance.

“If, however, these changes persist, or you have any new vaginal bleeding after the menopause, you should see your doctor.

“We also want to stress that these perceived changes in menstrual cycle after having the Covid-19 vaccine should not be confused with an impact on fertility and the ability to have children. There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility.” 

Dr Sue Ward, vice president for education at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: “We’re aware some women have been reporting a change to their period cycle or symptoms during the pandemic.

“The degree to which changing hormone levels will affect someone is often informed by her psychological well-being at that time.

“We know that life events can make PMS symptoms feel worse and something as all-consuming and life-changing as a global pandemic could result in women experiencing their periods differently.

“Anecdotally some women seem to be reporting heavier periods after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and we would support more data collection in this area to understand why this might be the case.

“If you do notice any bleeding that is unusual for you, then we would recommend you contact your doctor.” Dr June Raine, chief executive of the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: “Alongside the independent experts of the Commission on Human Medicines and members of its Medicines for Women’s Health Expert Advisory Group, we have reviewed reports of menstrual disorders and unexpected vaginal bleeding, suspected as adverse reactions to vaccination.

“The current evidence does not suggest an increased risk, following vaccination, with the UK’s three Covid-19 vaccines.

“The number of reports is low in relation to the number of women who have had the vaccine to date and the background rate of menstrual disorders generally.

“We continue to closely monitor these reports for potential signals.”

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