COVID-19 Vaccination May Negatively Affect Menstruation

Compared with unvaccinated women, women vaccinated against COVID-19 reported higher rates of menstrual pain, fatigue, unprescribed analgesics use, and nausea.

COVID-19 vaccination may negatively affect menstruation, according to study results published in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses.

This cross-sectional study was conducted in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, and Libya from November 2021 to December 2021. Researchers compared changes in menstruation among women who had received at least 1 COVID-19 vaccine dose vs women who were unvaccinated. Participants’ menstruation patterns and demographic characteristics were self-reported via online questionnaire. Chi-square testing was used to establish the relationship between menstruation and COVID-19 vaccination status, and logistic regression was used to examine the association between vaccination status and menstruation outcomes, with adjustments for demographic factors.

Among a total of 4942 participants included in the final analysis, the mean (SD) age was 24.02 (5.73) years, the mean BMI was 23.56 (4.79) kg/m2, and 59.1% were vaccinated against COVID-19 infection. In addition, 1838 (48.7%) participants reported prior COVID-19 infection, and 74.2% reported a regular cycle.

COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the risk of infection and severe disease and numerous studies have confirmed that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

Participants who were vs were not vaccinated reported higher rates of pelvic pain (84.5% vs 81.6%; P =.006), back pain (82.9% vs 77.9%; P <.001), thigh pain (63.9% vs 61.0%; P =.045), nausea (43% vs 40%; P =.036), and fatigue (89.7% vs 87.1%; P =.005). Vaccinated participants also were more likely to report use of analgesics without a prescription (62.7% vs 57.2%; P <.001).

The researchers evaluated pain during menstruation among vaccinated participants using a 10-point scale. Participants who received the mRNA-1273 or BNT162b2 vaccine reported higher mean pain scores (6.43 and 5.94, respectively), as well a longer duration of bleeding (5.76 and 5.92 days, respectively), when compared with those who received other COVID-19 vaccines.

Further analysis was performed after adjustments for demographic characteristics determined to be related and unrelated to menstruation. Results indicated COVID-19 vaccination was a significant predictor for increased occurrence of pelvic pain, back pain, nausea, general weakness, menstrual pain, unprescribed analgesics use, bowel movement, and loose stools.

Limitations of this study include the cross-sectional design and the use of both self-reported data and convenience sampling.

Despite these findings, “COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the risk of infection and severe disease and numerous studies have confirmed that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks,” the researchers noted.

References:

Matar SG, Nourelden AZ, Assar A, et al. Effect of COVID‐19 vaccine on menstrual experience among females in six Arab countries: a cross sectional study. Influenza Other Respir Viruses. Published online December 28, 2022. doi:org/10.1111/irv.13088