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Many women report a changed cycle after the corona vaccination. We asked two experts what could be behind it.
Headache, fever, chills - it is known that flu-like reactions can occur after the corona vaccination. But that the vaccine also affects menstruation? Leave that Testimonials from numerous women now guess. On social media, many report severe abdominal cramps and bleeding that start earlier and don't seem to want to end.
Such cases are also increasing in the ordination of the Viennese gynecologist Eva Lehner-Rothe, explains the doctor: " There are more and more calls coming in right now because women don't know what's going on with their cycle after they have had a corona vaccination. Some bleed more, but one patient bled noticeably less - it goes in all directions. "According to her observations, it was irrelevant which vaccine was injected. Other colleagues have already reported patients with similar symptoms.
Possible reasons for menstrual cramps after the corona vaccination
One can currently only speculate about possible reasons for the cycle irregularities after a Covid vaccination. "Everyone is waiting for scientific findings on this," says the gynecologist, who considers an immune reaction to be plausible in this context.
Alexandra Kautzky-Willer, gender doctor at the Medical University of Vienna, also assumes an immune response: "There is a close connection between the immune system, sex hormones and reproduction, which could explain a connection in the normal reaction after vaccination." An article by the international vaccination alliance Gavi, whose members include the WHO and UNICEF, explains this theory as follows:
"Immune cells are involved in the formation and subsequent breakdown of the lining of the uterus, which occurs during menstruation. The inflammatory molecules - called cytokines and interferons - produced by vaccines may also be able to stimulate immune cells in the uterus. That in turn could lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, "says the report. And: According to Gavi, there have been cases in which postmenopausal women and trans men also found bleeding after the vaccination.
"In addition, cycle irregularities often occur with psychological problems and stress that could be caused by a pandemic," explains Alexandra Kautzky-Willer. According to the gender doctor, an online survey of women of childbearing age showed that around half of all respondents during the pandemic had noticed cycle changes and symptoms before the vaccination.
No effects on fertility
Even if significant study results are still a long way off, irregularities after vaccination are observed over a longer period of time, should these be clarified by a doctor, Lehner-Rothe advises: "The cycle should normalize again no later than three to four months after the vaccination."
Gynecologist Lehner-Rothe and gender doctor Kautzky-Willer consider it unlikely that the COVID vaccine could have a longer-term effect on the cycle or even fertility.
"So far there are no known negative effects of vaccinations on female reproduction. Neither in the data on fertility and pregnancy, nor on IVF treatments," explains Kautzky-Willer. In her opinion, the few studies that are currently available on cycle-dependent changes in female hormones show no abnormalities either.
The number of studies is thin - so a classic example of the gender health gap, which shows that women are neglected in medical research? The two experts do not want to commit to this at the moment. "But in principle, with vaccinations, as with other drugs in preclinical and clinical tests, more attention is to be paid to gender-sensitive side effects. This also includes the female hormone balance," says Kautzky-Willer.