Covid-19 vaccine and the menstrual cycle

Research by Yoppie, the pioneers of personalised period care, has found that some women are concerned about the COVID-19 vaccine and how it could impact their menstrual cycle, as well as their fertility. 

Yoppie’s research found that 26% of women were worried about how the COVID-19 vaccine might potentially impact their menstrual cycle, as well as their fertility, although 91% remained keen to help in the fight against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. 

But if you’re pondering whether or not to get vaccinated, Yoppie has also put together the below guidance to help you make your mind up. 

Will you see changes to your period?

Although a small number of women have reported changes to their monthly cycle the important thing to note, first and foremost, is that so far there is no evidence linking the vaccine with any change to the menstrual cycle. 

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine said that “even if there is a connection, one unusual period is no cause for alarm.” It has been previously found that any menstrual irregularities that come after a vaccine can be viewed as a side effect similar to a fever. It’s simply a sign that your immune system is doing its job properly – go body go! 

It’s important to note that catching COVID-19 can also cause changes to your menstrual cycle, so it would seem there’s less chance of this happening if you are vaccinated. 

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Can vaccines affect fertility?

There have also been widespread rumours that the COVID-19 vaccine could impact fertility. But again, don’t believe everything you hear. This has now been widely noted as fake news.

While data is limited in this area, the NHS states that there is no evidence to suggest the vaccines affect fertility, and there is no need to avoid trying to get pregnant after you receive a vaccination. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also said the same and so these are the guys to listen to, not the social media rumour mill. 

Is it safe for pregnant people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

The World Health Organization says that although there is “very little data” to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy, largely due to the fact that those who are of reproductive age are one of the last groups to be vaccinated. However, with more of us being encouraged to get vaccinated we should soo have a clearer picture although WHO says that…

“Based on what we know about these vaccines, we don’t have any specific reason to believe there will be risks that would outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women.”

The Gov.uk website also states that:

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group.” 

Though the advice leans towards getting the vaccine when you are offered it, it’s understandable that if you are pregnant you could be worried about any risks to your child and to yourself. 

It may be helpful to know that in the US, around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated primarily with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, with no safety concerns being identified. For this reason, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are now seen as the preferred choice for pregnant women.

In addition, the Harvard Health Blog shared that at the time of writing, the CDC is tracking over 30,000 vaccine recipients who were pregnant at the time of vaccination. Almost 1,800 have provided details of their symptoms and outcomes, and results so far show that pregnant people appear to have the same vaccine side effects as everyone else, and no miscarriages, stillbirths, or preterm births linked to the vaccines have been reported. 

Are vaccines safe for breastfeeding mothers?

With a direct link between mother and baby, it’s only normal that breastfeeding might cause some concern in new mothers when it comes to their vaccine. 

The World Health Organisation have again dispelled any worries with advice for mothers not to discontinue breastfeeding after their vaccination, as has the NHS who states that “the vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19”. According to the CDC, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines, so they do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, and therefore cannot give someone COVID-19. 

mRNA vaccines are designed to cause cell mutation but they don’t interact with DNA or cause genetic changes, as the mRNA doesn’t enter the nucleus of the cell where DNA is kept. None of the major health bodies has recommended discontinuing breastfeeding, and there is currently no data to suggest it poses a risk. 

The NHS does recommend speaking to your healthcare professional before having a vaccination to discuss the risks and benefits, so don’t be afraid to do this. Any concerns you have are valid, and your GP or nurse can tell you more. 

So should I have a vaccine or not?

So the million-dollar question really has a pretty simple answer – the decision is entirely yours. 

Much like our menstrual cycles, no two people will share the exact same circumstances and so your decision should be based on your personal situation and based on factors such as:

  • Your age group: this will determine your COVID-19 risk level
  • Your personal health: your own health conditions may put you in a higher/lower risk category, so the risks and benefits will be different for you than for others
  • The latest data: The above data was collected in April 2021, but of course things move fast! By the time you are invited to have your vaccination, you may wish to check the most up-to-date advice to make sure it is right for you 

Founder of Yoppie, Daniella Peri, commented:

“The menstrual cycle is an incredibly personal and unique thing for every woman and so it makes sense that any changes as a result of a COVID-19 vaccine will also differ greatly between one woman and the next. It’s also natural that any changes to our cycle might cause an initial degree of alarm or worry and there may also be additional worries around fertility, pregnancy and even breastfeeding.
The good news is that to date, there’s no evidence that having the vaccine will cause these negative side effects and so those who do wish to get vaccinated should feel confident in doing so.
The important thing to remember is that while it’s your decision you’re not alone and if you need some reassurance, don’t be afraid to talk it through. The best place to start is by seeking medical advice from your GP as they will be able to give you the most unto date information on the subject.”
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