Menstrual change unusual after vaccination

13.10.2021 - 14:05
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: RÚV
The risk of vaccination causing changes to the menstrual cycle is extremely small, and the bigger risk is women blaming changes to their menstrual cycle on vaccination without going for medical examination. Women experiencing changed menstrual cycles should always seek medical advice, regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, a gynaecological and maternity specialist tells RÚV.

Around 2,400 women are members of an Icelandic Facebook group about the effect of covid vaccination on the menstrual cycle. Around 800 women have reported changes to their menstrual cycles following vaccination, and some members of the Facebook group are considering legal action against the state. The reported symptoms range from irregular periods to more serious problems like longer or heavier periods, no period at all, and severe period pain. Women have reported entering menopause before the age of 40, and others say they have started menstruating again after menopause.

The Directorate of Health and the Icelandic Medicines Agency appointed outside experts to investigate these side effects and to compile relevant data from overseas research. Aðalbjörg Björgvinsdóttir, a specialist in maternity and gynaecology, and Björn Rúnar Lúðviksson, professor and senior physician at the immunology department of Landspítali national university hospital, were part of the research team and were guests on RÚV’s Kastljós programme yesterday evening. 

Among their conclusions is that it is unlikely that all the reported menstrual changes can be attributed to vaccination. There are, however, seven cases where a direct causal link is possible. Aðalbjörg says disturbed menstrual cycles are a common problem for women across society and that there is not necessarily any link to vaccination. 

“It can be contraceptives the woman is on, or hormones she is taking, or she gets an ovarian cyst, or also serious causes like uterine congestion, cell changes, or even cancer, that can cause menstrual irregularity,” she explained. 

The researchers tried to highlight all the possible causes that could be affecting the women’s menstrual cycles and then encouraged all the women who did not fit into any of the categories to go for examination to determine whether their symptoms could be a result of vaccination. 

It is important for women, vaccinated or not, who notice menstrual changes to go for examination. It is important to inform about side-effects that occur following vaccination, and the use of medicines in general. 

"Assertions must also not be made that vaccination is causing menstrual irregularities or heavier periods that therefore maybe prompt some women to not seek help,” Aðalbjörg adds. 

Björn Rúnar said that menstrual disturbance is under-researched in general and that it is increasingly surprising to note how widespread of a problem it is, and far more common than many people realise. 

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