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First Large‑Scale Study Investigates How Covid19 Vaccines Impact Periods

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Medicine does not take women’s bodies seriously. And since periods are still considered a “women’s problem,” even though we should know better, the link between Covid19 vaccines and menstrual cycles has remained largely unexplored.

People have been reporting “wonky” periods on social media since the beginning of the pandemic; last year, menstrual health experts, too, began calling for more focus and funding towards research into the impact of Covid19 vaccines on periods. Finally, published in Science Advances last week, a new study — based on a survey of more than 39,000 people who are either currently menstruating or did so in the past — delved into the subject.

Validating the experiences of thousands — if not, millions — of women across the globe, the present study found that as many as 42% of the participants experienced changes in their menstrual cycles since getting vaccinated. The range of changes exists on a spectrum, though — some people simply had the regularity of their periods interrupted, some dealt with greater pain, heavier flow, and longer periods, while some even experienced bleeding for the first time months after they had stopped menstruating.

Turns out, people living with conditions affecting menstrual cycles — like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — experienced heavier periods. Many participants on contraceptives that pause periods bled after being jabbed. 39% of the participants on testosterone for gender-affirming therapy, too, bled unexpectedly. In fact, 66% of the post-menopausal participants also suddenly experienced bleeding — causing them unnecessary concern since post-menopausal bleeding could otherwise be a sign of endometrial cancer.

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