As OBGYNs, one of the more common complaints patients bring up with us are irregularities in their periods. For many women, periods of stress: travel, final exams, a big move, major life events, can throw off their cycle for a month or two. For other women, there are medical issues: hormonal, structural, that cause the changes and need to be diagnosed and then managed.
During the COVID19 pandemic, we have continued to receive these calls and office visits. However, after the release of the COVID19 vaccine, in December of 2020 and then more widely in April of 2021, the calls have definitely increased, as women worry that the changes in their menstrual cycle may be from the COVID19 vaccine itself.
The amount of anecdotal reports and the ability for women to share this information on social media, has resulted in the NIH awarding a $1.67 million grant to five universities to study the connection between period changes and the COVID19 vaccine. We are looking forward to their findings, as so many women want to know if this is a real phenomenon that they experienced.
Something that is important to know is that the pandemic itself–and its related financial, physical, and social stressors–may be responsible for transient menstrual irregularities in many women. In a small survey study of women during the early phase of the pandemic, nearly half of respondents noted changes in their menstrual cycles. The survey was administered in the summer of 2020, but only published this month.
Whether the changes are the results of the stress of the pandemic, the stress of decision making around the vaccine, or from the vaccine itself, it will be helpful to have the answer and we hope the researchers involved in this grant get their work out soon. So many of us are wanting to know!
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, Pooja Gupta, and Christina Lam, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano has also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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