Covid-related stress may have caused millions of women to experience disruptions to their periods, a study suggests.
An American survey of 210 women found 54 per cent experienced changes to their menstrual cycle between July and August 2020.
Half of the women that reported changes experienced longer periods and a just over a third complained of heavier bleeding than usual. Changes in PMS symptoms were also reported by half of the women.
All the woman surveyed were also asked to score their stress levels both prior to, and during, the Covid pandemic through an online questionnaire.
On average the women reported higher levels of stress during the Covid pandemic than before.
Experts from Northwestern University, who carried out the study warned the stress of the pandemic was likely to blame.
Study author Professor Nicole Woitowich said: ‘We know added stress can negatively impact our overall health and well-being.’
But she added ‘stress can also disrupt normal menstrual cycle patterns and overall reproductive health’.
Thousands of women have also complained of disrupted cycles after being vaccinated, though none of the women surveyed would have got the Covid jab at the time of the survey.
Professor Woitowich said the findings on stress, published in the Journal of Women’s Health, confirmed many anecdotal reports from women of period disruption during the pandemic.
‘Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and its significant impact on mental health, this data is unsurprising and confirms many anecdotal reports in the popular press and on social media,’ she said.
She added that the fact women were now experiencing period irregularities due to Covid infection, as well as vaccination against the virus, the pandemic’s impact on reproductive health should not be ignored.
‘We are already seeing the ripple effects of what happens when we fail to consider this important facet of women’s health,’ Professor Woitowich added.
‘Many are now experiencing menstrual cycle irregularities as a result of the Covid vaccines or infection.’
The UK Government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which keeps track of vaccine side effects, has recorded 35,707 period problems in women after they received the vaccine.
But experts fear this figure is only the tip of the iceberg because many women who experienced the changes likely did not report them.
However, the reports do not prove the vaccine was to blame.
Period issues reported after getting a Covid vaccine include heavy bleeding, missing periods, and periods being earlier or later than usual.
Some postmenopausal women have also said they experienced vaginal bleeding after being vaccinated.
Britain’s medical regulator has refused to accept or deny a link to disrupted cycles, and says most menstrual problems appear to be ‘transient’ in nature.
But period issues have previously been linked to other vaccines, such as the HPV jab.
However, there is no evidence that Covid vaccines effect fertility, top doctors insist.
Women who experienced high levels of pandemic stress were more likely to experience period problems such as longer than regular cycle or heavier bleeding a new US study has found
Women in the study were asked to report their stress levels both during and prior to the Covid pandemic. This was done through an online questionnaire which were then scored on a perceived stress level score (PSS). Graph A shows that women on average reported higher levels of stress during the pandemic. Graph B shows the number of respondents who scored each value on the PSS survey, the Covid pandemic was associated with high stress scores
ARE MY PERIODS ABNORMAL?
Public Health England’s research has revealed nearly half of women – 48 per cent – say they struggle with menstrual issues such as heavy or irregular periods. So when should you be concerned about your period?
Period pain is common and most women experience it at some time in their life.
The pain is usually felt as cramps in the abdomen and is caused by the muscular wall of the womb tightening and temporarily cutting off oxygen.
See your doctor if the pain is severe or is suddenly different from what is normal for you, as it can be a sign of endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Irregular periods happen when the length of your menstrual cycle changes.
They may be normal or easily explained by hormones, but you should see a doctor if they suddenly become irregular, if they are very close together or far apart (less than 21 days or more than 35 days), or if the periods last longer than a week.
Heavy periods, in which a lot of blood is lost, are common but can seriously affect a woman’s life.
Heavy bleeding is defined as losing 80ml (16 teaspoons) or more in each period, having periods that last longer than 7 days, or both.
Heavy periods are not necessarily a sign of an underlying problem but if you notice an unusual amount of blood, or it is affecting your day-to-day life, it’s a good idea to visit your GP.
Source: NHS Choices
Source: Health & wellbeing | The Guardian