Has COVID Affected Your Hormones?
A new study suggests Covid-related stress may have caused millions of women to suffer irregular periods and hormonal upsets.
We know that our hormones are affected by many factors: stress, illness, anxiety and medication being just a few of them.
Since March 2020 we have all been affected by COVID, whether directly or indirectly and have definitely been living through very stressful times.
How many women are affected?
A new American study at Northwestern University by Professor Nicole Woitowich was done between July and August 2020.
It found 54% of women experienced irregular periods in the pandemic, or related to COVID injections.
All the woman surveyed were asked to score their stress levels both prior to, and during, the Covid pandemic through an online questionnaire.
Women with higher pandemic stress were more likely to see changes to periods and heavier menstrual bleeding and longer periods were reported by the women
Half of the women that reported changes experienced longer periods and a just over a third complained of heavier bleeding than usual.
Changes in PMS symptoms were also reported by half of the women.
Who is affected?
Public Health England’s research has revealed nearly half of women – 48 per cent – say they struggle with menstrual issues such as heavy or irregular periods.
So when should you be concerned about your period?
Period pain is common and most women experience it at some time in their life. The pain is usually felt as cramps in the abdomen and is caused by the muscular wall of the womb tightening and temporarily cutting off oxygen.
See your doctor if the pain is severe or is suddenly different from what is normal for you, as it can be a sign of endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
Irregular periods happen when the length of your menstrual cycle changes, such as at perimenopause.
They may be normal or easily explained by hormone changes, but you should see a doctor if they suddenly become irregular, if they are very close together or far apart (less than 21 days or more than 35 days), or if the periods last longer than a week.
Heavy periods are common but not necessarily a sign of an underlying problem but if you notice an unusual amount of blood, or it is affecting your day-to-day life, it’s a good idea to talk to your GP.
The stress factor
We know added stress, anxiety and depression can negatively impact our overall health and well-being, and this is particularly true for women and their hormonal health.
There is no argument that stress can disrupt normal menstrual cycle patterns and overall reproductive health but there is no proof that either COVID or the vaccine is linked directly.
The UK Government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which keeps track of vaccine side effects, has recorded 35,707 period problems in women after they received the vaccine.
This may be only the tip of the iceberg because many women who experienced the changes probably did not report them.
Some postmenopausal women have also said they experienced vaginal bleeding after being vaccinated.
Britain’s medical regulator has refused to accept or deny a link to disrupted cycles, and says most menstrual problems appear to be ‘transient’ in nature.
However period issues have previously been linked to other vaccines, such as the HPV jab.
In talking with women about hormonal health, it is clear that stress and anxiety impact our hormones more than we give them credit for.
Hormone balance is essential for women, whatever their age, and getting a handle on stress is possibly the most important way to help yourself to better health at all times.
Stress also can cause comfort eating, and weight gain, and that can lead to oestrogen dominance. So if you would like some help with that, this article gives you some useful tips.