National Geographic – Raven La Fae, a 31-year-old artist in Calgary, Canada, has always been able to predict her menstrual period almost to the day—arriving every 28 days and lasting for five. But after contracting COVID-19, that’s no longer the case.
La Fae’s bout with the disease felled her for two miserable weeks. Her menstrual cycle landed during that time, so she wasn’t surprised. What stunned her was how long it lasted—10 days.
“My period has been funky ever since,” La Fae laments, and when she contracted COVID again, it became even less predictable. While the days between her cycles have mostly returned to baseline, bleeding lengths have not, lasting up to 13 days a month. COVID-19 can interfere with your period in many ways … READ MORE [subscription may be required]
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COVID-19: Does the Virus or Vaccine Mess With the Menstrual Cycle?
The answer to both questions is yes, it’s possible. Effects may vary from person to person.
EVERYDAY HEALTH – It’s completely normal for menstrual cycles to vary slightly from month to month, but if you’ve noticed unusual changes right around the time you had COVID-19 or the vaccination or booster shots that help prevent it, it’s not all in your head. You’re part of a scientifically recognized crowd.
On September 27, 2022, a large study published in BMJ Medicine confirmed the findings of previous research that linked COVID-19 vaccination with a temporary average increase in menstrual cycle length of less than one day.
For study participants who received only one vaccine dose per cycle, the number of days in a cycle had returned to pre-vax lengths in the cycle after vaccination.
There was a larger increase in cycle length, almost four days, for individuals who happened to receive two doses of a vaccine within the same cycle.
The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, included 20,000 people from the United States and other parts of the world who received any of nine different vaccines.
Earlier this year, a similar study of about 40,000 people was published in the July 15 issue of the journal Science Advances. Researchers found that about 42 percent of menstruating survey respondents reported a heavier menstrual flow after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
But not everyone was affected: Roughly an equal number of people, about 44 percent, reported no change to their menstrual flow after the vaccine, and around 14 percent saw a lighter flow.
Of the respondent who don’t typically menstruate, breakthrough bleeding was reported by 71 percent of people on long-acting reversible contraceptives and 66 percent of postmenopausal people …