Thousands of women have reported changes to their menstrual cycle after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, but this is yet to be added to the official list of side effects.
Early, late, missed, heavy and painful periods are amongst the menstrual changes experienced by women after receiving the vaccine.
But there is no official research to suggest their symptoms are valid.
So instead of consulting doctors or medical professionals, women have been taking to social media to express their concerns.
According to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) more than 13,000 women have used the Yellow Card Scheme to report experiencing menstrual changes after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Yellow Card Scheme provides the opportunity for the public to report problems experienced with medicines or medical devices. The MHRA will review the issue and if necessary, take action to minimise risk to patients.
A poll we conducted on Twitter found that 87.2% of 234 women surveyed experienced changes to their menstrual cycle after receiving the vaccine, with 41.6% of those experiencing missed or late periods.
Despite period changes not being listed on the official vaccine side effects, it is possible that there could be a link between the two.
Dr Victoria Male, a reproductive immunologist at Imperial College London, told the BBC there may be a physical menstrual reaction to the vaccine.
She explained that the womb lining is part of the immune system – immune cells play a role in building, maintaining and breaking down the lining of the uterus, which thickens to prepare for pregnancy and sheds if an egg is not fertilised.
After receiving a vaccination, chemical signals which have the potential to affect immune cells, circulate the body.
According to Dr Male, this could cause the womb lining to shed, and lead to spotting or earlier periods.
Medical experts are confident however that these side effects are temporary and will not cause any long term issues with fertility.
However, this doesn’t explain why lots of women have experienced late or missed periods.
SWL spoke to women whose menstrual cycle changes were so adverse after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that they refused to accept it was coincidence.
Read the full story here.
You can also listen to SWL’s podcast on how the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified gender inequalities in the healthcare system here.