As modern society slowly distances itself from the immediacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists can refocus their efforts of understanding the virus’ affect on all systems of the body. Most research and development has understandably been focused on the respiratory system, largely due to the virus’ propensity to attack the lungs of the vulnerable. Doctors also understand COVID-19’s effect on the nervous and circulatory systems; but its impact on the reproduction system is less known.
Health officials have long believed viral infections to cause changes in female reproductive organs and processes. For example, hepatitis B (HBV) or C virus (HCV) contributed to “prolonged, heavy menstruation,” according to a Journal of Clinical Medicine study. Now, doctors want to know what, if any, effects COVID-19 caused to the female reproduction system as it ripped through the entire world over the course of two years.
Researchers attempted to draw conclusions based upon mountains of anecdotal evidence supplied over the past few years in regards to COVID-19 and the menstrual cycle. Only the following entries were included in the study: menstrual cycle length, length and volume of menstruation, regularity, abnormal bleeding/spotting between regular menstrual periods, and the frequency and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Articles that described the effect of therapy, vaccination, lifestyle changes, or pandemic-related stress were excluded.
Menstrual cycle duration and menstrual volume significantly differed between COVID-19 infected women and controls
Over 400 independent studies were included in the final findings. After thorough analysis, researchers discovered that 20 percent of women reported symptoms of irregularity due to COVID-19.
The most common changes include irregular menstruation, infrequent menstruation, and increased premenstrual syndrome symptoms. Patients with menstrual cycle changes then faced other heightened side effects such as fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, and body aches/pains — all symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Interestingly enough, the severity of COVID-19 symptoms did not seem to play a part in any menstruation cycle changes. Researchers who conducted the study said in their conclusion that further investigation is necessary to determine more specific connections between COVID-19 and the reproductive system. But enough evidence exists to reasonably draw a connection between the virus and the extended length (and reduced flow) of menstrual cycles in women.