Coincidence or caused by vaccine? OB/GYN addresses concerns about vaccine’s effect on woman’s menstrual cycle

Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - About 55 percent of the people vaccinated in north Carolina are women. In South Carolina, about 57 percent of the people vaccinated are women. But health officials know there are still some women who are hesitant to get the vaccine because of concerns that it will affect their chance at having a family.

Recently, there have been several anecdotal reports of women who say they noticed changes in their menstrual cycles after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Novant Health Obstetrician and Gynecologist Dr. Amelia Sutton says at this point, there is no medical evidence showing a connection between the vaccine and a woman’s cycle.

“It seems anecdotal,” Dr. Sutton said. “We have not really heard much of it in our patients … and we haven’t seen it in any studies yet.”

However, she says if it is later determined that the vaccine is the cause of changes to a woman’s menstrual cycle, she says it may be because of the body’s immune response.

“Any changes in the immune system that might trigger an inflammatory response might cause changes in your menstrual cycle,” Dr. Sutton said.

Because many factors can influence a woman’s period, it is difficult to tell if the root cause is the vaccine. But Dr. Sutton says it is possible for a COVID-19 infection to spark change in a women’s cycle. Regardless, Dr. Sutton says most changes to a woman’s cycle are minimal and temporary.

“Getting the vaccine, any potential risks which are again, are probably coincidental at this point, far outweigh the risks of getting a COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Sutton said.

Professors at the University of Illinois and Washington University in St. Louis are conducting a survey to understand changes in women’s menstrual cycles after vaccination. You can read more information about the survey here.

According to the CDC, there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, causes fertility problems. The CDC also reports that preliminary data did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or for their babies. However, more trials and research are being done.

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