Of all the side effects I was concerned about when in the planning mode of getting the Covid19 vaccine, ironically as a sexual health professional, I never even considered that the Covid19 vaccine would make my menstrual cycle a mess. But apparently when COVID-19 patients were asked if the virus itself had affected their periods, the answer was a resounding yes.
Almost all people who menstruate that contracted the COVID-19 infection, agree that the disease has impacted their menstrual cycles in unusual ways, such as missed periods while infected with Covid19, irregular cycles during recovery, heavy flows, and abnormally long periods have been reported. The hormones estrogen and progesterone, have been found to have a protective effect against COVID-19 but experts need to further explore the effects of COVID-19 on the endocrine system (the system of the body that regulates hormones) so that we’re about to get a more clear idea of the effects.
It’s no surprise that any sort of stress can mess with a person’s periods. And there’s no question that the Covid19 pandemic counts as a major form of stress. So it makes perfect sense that folks have been experiencing menstrual cycle disruptions. This can happen if a person becomes infected with the coronavirus or if they are just dealing with the extended stress of handling the pandemic, according to a report published June 29 in MedPage Today.
What About The Vaccine?
As I researched all the possible side effects before heading to Yankee stadium to get my own jab, the possibility of my period coming early and much heavier then usual wasn’t something remotely mentioned. I asked a friend who reported the same exact symptoms as I did. The shot itself was quick and fine, and for most of the first day I felt totally fine. I got the one shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Then my stomach turned, I went to the bathroom and I had the heaviest flow I had ever seen. I then kept up that very heavy flow for the next four days. As I type this, it’s day 5 and it’s finally seems to be relenting. I also experienced the normal arm soreness and general aches and feverish feelings, but to be very honest felt more related to my heavy flow then to anything else.
After googling if this is a common effect since I hadn’t heard anyone mentioning it I couldn’t fine much, so wanted to create a place to find some more info! There are quite a few Reddit threads where folks are talking about experiencing the same issues with their periods. It seems that while this side effect wasn’t reported in any of the trials, it might be that no one thought to ask and folks might not be as forthcoming with intimate details of their cycles if they aren’t sure it even has a correlation.
There is a bunch of folks talking about it on social media, and we should normalize talking about it more so that folks can do proper research into the correlation!
How to manage vaccine and heavy flow side effects
While the side effects can sound scary, it does not mean that you have to suffer through them to a full extent. There are plenty of ways to mitigate the symptoms and help your be more comfortable. Here are a few helpful tips!
- Receive the vaccine in your non-dominant arm
- Ice the arm that receives the vaccine
- Take Tylenol or Ibuprofen as directed to reduce the discomfort
- Stay hydrated
- Wear loose clothing
- Wear your hair in a loose ponytail or braid to reduce headaches
- Consider taking some time off work
- Have an Orgasm to help relieve cramps
- Exercise if you can, if nothing else make sure to move your arm around after the shot to get the vaccine moving in your arm
- Take a nice hot bath
- Use a heating pad
- Sleep and rest!
- Track your symptoms.
Hearing and reading about the side effects may make you second guess getting the shot, but keep in mind that you can do a few things to lessen the side effects. Most folks will experience some of these side effects, but they generally pass in 36 hours. Just make your space as comfy as possible and let’s get past this together!