The COVID-19 Vaccine & Changes in Your Period: A Conversation with Axia’s Chief Medical Officer

The topic of the COVID-19 vaccine and changes in menstrual cycles has sparked much conversation on social media in recent months. To better understand the science and what we know so far, we caught up with Axia Women’s Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elizabeth Cherot. Before we dig into our conversation with Dr. Cherot, we must emphasize a few key things.

There is no scientific evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes long-term or lasting changes to menstruation, nor does it have any impact on fertility. What we do know is that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and strongly recommended by public health authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, among others.

Q: Dr. Cherot, can you help explain what we have seen regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and menstrual cycle changes?

Dr. Cherot: Sure. It’s important to note that there have been no scientific findings shared yet on the impact between COVID-19 vaccination and the menstrual cycle. However, numerous women have shared anecdotal reports through social media of mistimed or heavier than normal periods. Most of these women shared that their period was back-to-normal by the next cycle. All of this discussion has prompted researchers to investigate the claims further.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has now awarded grants to leading research institutions to explore the link between the COVID-19 vaccine and potential changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle to see if there is a link or if it is coincidental.

Overall, I think this is a good step in recognizing the feedback women have shared and putting women’s health at the forefront of research so that we can all be more informed.

Q: Why is it difficult to pinpoint a direct link between the COVID-19 vaccine and changes in a woman’s period?

Dr. Cherot: There are a host of reasons why a woman may experience irregular bleeding, abnormal, or missed periods. Therefore, it’s difficult to say whether any changes were based on the vaccine alone.

For some women, increased stress levels during the pandemic may lead to variability with menstruation. A recent study presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Congress found that 87% of women who had higher reported stress levels since the pandemic also experienced changes in their cycle. Research shows that increased stress leads to increased cortisol levels which can impact a woman’s cycle.

Other factors that could contribute to period irregularity include weight loss or weight gain, as well as other medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, and thyroid diseases.

Q: Can you help dispel any myths around the vaccine and infertility?

Dr. Cherot: Social media rumors fueled this myth, based on a rumor that the protein in the COVID-19 vaccine mimicked a protein in the placenta and therefore could “attack” the placenta. This is not accurate, and there’s no reason to believe the vaccine could impact fertility or reproductive health in any way.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine have since published a joint statement denouncing any claims that the vaccine causes infertility in women or men. In the history of vaccines, there has never been a link between a vaccine causing infertility.

In our own care centers, we’ve seen many successful pregnancies in women who have had the vaccine, and more broadly CDC data has shown that 4,800 people had a positive pregnancy test after receiving the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: What advice do you have for women who are concerned about any changes in their menstrual cycle?

Dr. Cherot:  In general, I would encourage women not to worry. That said, if you have experienced a recent change in your period, it never hurts to book an appointment with your OB/GYN to have it checked out, as it could be due to another underlying health condition. Above all, I would recommend any woman who has not yet been vaccinated and does not have a contraindication to do so now. While researchers may still be looking into the impact on the vaccine and menstrual cycles, we do know several things already to be true. We know that the vaccine is safe and effective and is our best form of protection against severe illness from this deadly virus.

ICYMI: Good news! You can now order 4 at-home rapid antigen Covid-19 tests mailed directly to your home, free of charge. If you haven't already, head to Covidtests.gov to place your order. 🦠 ...

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We know it can be difficult to navigate the influx of information surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine when it comes to fertility. Dr. Jenny Nichols, Reproductive Endocinrologist with our friends at Sincera Reproductive, is here to help answer your questions.

Comment below or send us a DM with your questions about the vaccine, and we'll address in a future post. All DMs will remain anonymous of course!
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1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. But through regular mammogram screenings, you can increase the chances of catching cancer early, when it is most treatable.

We've seen a lot of questions regarding if it's safe to get a mammogram after the COVID-19 vaccine and want to share some facts:

Fact: Some women have reported swollen lymph nodes in their armpit after receiving the vaccine, which can impact the results of the mammogram.

Fact: Swollen lymph nodes is a very normal reaction to the vaccine.

Fact: Doctors recommend scheduling your annual mammogram four weeks after your first dose of the vaccine to allow time for any swelling to settle. Alternatively, you can schedule your mammogram prior to receiving the first dose of your vaccine.

Fact: Early detection is key. Mammograms increase your chances of catching cancer early. Don't delay if you have a concern.

To learn more, visit the link in our bio and click "COVID-19 and Breast Health" for more info. #breasthealth #mammogram #prevention #preventativehealth
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Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, but not sure where to turn? With the amount of misinformation circulating online, it can be difficult to decode fact vs. fiction.
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We’ve gathered the latest fact-checked research from the @cdcgov and @acog_org on the vaccine – especially as it relates to pregnancy and fertility – to help bring you the facts you need.
Visit link in bio and click “COVID-19 Resource Page” to read more.
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As always, we love to hear from you. Have another question we haven't covered here? Shoot us a DM or leave a comment below with your question and we'll work to address it in a future post. #covidfacts #covidresources #linkinbio #AskAxia
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Fact or Fiction? We're sharing the latest information and resources for women on the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about expert guidance shared by the country's leading women's health entities here: https://bit.ly/3cAyiHg ...

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On this National Doctor's Day, we thank our many physicians for their commitment to our patients, even amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their dedication, loyalty, and passion for medicine inspires us all. Thank you, docs! 💙 ...

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