Menstrual changes after COVID jab must be investigated, says leading immunologist

pharmafile | September 16, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications  

Changes to periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding has been reported by 30,000 women to UK regulators, and now leading immunologist Dr Victoria Male has called for a formal investigation to help reassure women.

Writing in the BMJ, Dr Male said “robust research” into reports of period problems would help to counter misinformation around the vaccines.

She said: “Vaccine hesitancy among young women is largely driven by false claims that COVID-19 vaccines could harm their chances of future pregnancy.

“Failing to thoroughly investigate reports of menstrual changes after vaccination is likely to fuel these fears.

“If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this information will allow people to plan for potentially altered cycles”.

Following a review of the reports, the MHRA said it “does not support a link” between COVID vaccines and the symptoms. It said that menstrual disorders are extremely common and can be caused by many different things, and the numbers of women affected are low.

Period changes have also been reported by some women after infection with the virus itself, and with long COVID.

Dr Male, a lecturer in reproductive immunology at Imperial College London, said “clear and trusted information” was important for women who rely on being able to predict their cycles. She said the effects of any medical intervention on menstruation should not be “an afterthought” in future research.

Scientists don’t yet understand how vaccines could cause period changes. There are theories that they may be linked to the impact of the immune system, which is stimulated by the vaccine, on hormones driving the menstrual cycle. However, they could also be caused by immune cells acting differently in the lining of the uterus.

Other vaccines, such as HPV or human papillomavirus, have also been linked to similar menstrual changes, but there has been little research carried out on how and why it happens.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said vaccination was the “best protection” against coronavirus, especially if planning a pregnancy, because unvaccinated pregnant women are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID than other women of the same age.

It also called for more research into why women may experience changes to their menstrual cycle after the vaccine.

Kat Jenkins


Related Content

No items found

Latest content