Periods In A Post-Covid World
12th May 2022
Now that things are beginning to settle down into a new kind of normal, what is the impact of Covid-19 going to be long term on the world of periods and sanitary healthcare?
As experienced providers of Sanitary bin care, we like to keep on top of the latest news that may affect our customers, so here are our findings on what periods are now in this Post-Covid world.
Covid-19 and periods
Does Covid affect periods? The answer to this is two-fold: the virus itself and the massive effect of the lifestyle changes, and prolonged stress, of the past few years.
With many unprecedented things to contend with, it is not surprising that a majority of women are noticing a change in their cycles, especially if they are usually regular, as the changes will be more noticeable.
Whether this is down specifically to Covid-19 remains to be seen. The director of Global Women’s Health Taraneh Shirazian, Md, says: “COVID-19 and its effects on the menstrual cycle are comparable to what we can say about other viral infections and prolonged periods of stress — menstrual disruptions are likely to occur.”
Any major shift in your physical or mental state can alter your cycle, including physiological reasons such as medicines, illnesses, weight gain, or loss, to name just a few. We wrote an article a while back on the effect lockdown was having on menstruation showing that even the slightest shift can alter an already sensitive schedule.
It is so important to look at medical studies to get a broader -and expert – view of the situation, rather than what is shared on social media, or worrying about your symptoms alone.
The main thing to realise is that both Covid-19 and your period can make you feel less than fighting fit, but do keep a record of anything odd and contact your GP if anything alarms you.
Vaccines and periods
We now categorically know that the Covid-19 vaccine can affect menstrual cycles, but thankfully it is short-term and fairly small. The findings were that the Covid-19 vaccine could make periods later by a day or two, but only in some women, and usually only for one cycle. The timing of periods is usually named as one of the most stressful parts of the menstruation, so knowing the reason why your period is late can help put your mind at rest.
A problem with studying whether the Covid-19 vaccine affected periods is that cycles can vary naturally, and for a variety of reasons, making it difficult to pinpoint which symptoms are expressly because of the vaccine.
Plus, research data has primarily focussed on the symptoms of those who have been vaccinated, not those who haven’t, so there is a lack of data from unvaccinated people, who may have had menstrual fluctuations too: It is hard to compare with incomplete data.
Another thing to note is that most of the current research is based in the USA. The research itself shows that the effects on menstruation were most pronounced in people who had two doses of the vaccine in the same menstrual cycle. This would not happen in the UK as there is an eight-week gap between doses, so in theory, the effects would be minimised even further.
These findings come after a stretch of time when more and more women were noting symptoms but were not being listened to.
The author of one of the studies into how covid vaccines affect menstrual health went on to say that: “The work that has been done represents a step in the right direction, but the fact that it has taken us so long to get here reflects the low priority with which menstrual and reproductive health is often treated in medical research. The widespread interest in this topic highlights how pressing a concern this is for the public. It’s time we started listening to them.”
With over 36,000 reports of menstrual changes, it is not something that should be ignored.
Long Covid and periods
An interesting fact about Covid-19 is how it is separating the sexes. Women seem to fare better with the initial infection, getting fewer complications, but are more likely to get Long Covid afterward.
Long Covid is defined as when symptoms of the virus last well past the usual two weeks when they should naturally begin to subside. The reason why women are more likely to develop long covid is not clear.
It is clear, however, that it is affecting their periods. This usually presents itself as a worsening of PMS symptoms, unusually heavy clotting, and disrupted or irregular cycles.
Adversely, research has also shown that being on your period can make the symptoms of Long Covid worse, with breathing issues being a regularly cited recurring side effect.
All of the above is clearly having a negative impact on the quality of life of those suffering from Long Covid. Some women have said that as the condition is still largely unknown, they feel unheard, with doctors putting the symptoms down to the stress the body is under rather than a separate condition, which with the anxiety of irregular cycles and the inability to predict what each week will be like, must be a self-fulfilling thought.
Either way, there needs to be much more done to support these people, with research needed to help understand and treat them.
The cost of living and menstruation
It may not be directly caused by Covid-19, but in this post-lockdown world people who menstruate have another thing to contend with: the cost of living crisis. Now that the war has been won on sanitary items being classed as a luxury, and are no longer taxed as thus, we are now seeing the prices increase, along with nearly every other day-to-day expense. This is something to consider if you have sanitary bins in your workplace, maybe providing a basket of sanitary goods in the washroom for your employees to use could help alleviate some of the stress of an already tense time.
Covid-19 has not gone away and research is still ongoing, but it is good to know that those who menstruate are finally being heard and their symptoms looked into.
However Covid-19 has affected your menstrual health, it is helpful to remember that it will most likely be short-lived and minor. Because so many things can alter your cycle it is vital that you get anything concerning you checked out, so that you can rule out anything more serious.
We at Ve Sani-Co will continue to keep up to date with all the latest information on all things ‘period’ and will continue to provide top quality sanitary bin services in Kent and the surrounding area, making the stress of that time of the month a little bit more bearable.