I feel that some complexity has been lost in the studies that Viki Male cites in her article about vaccinations affecting menstruation (Does the Covid vaccine really affect your period? Here’s what our study found, 27 July). I had two AstraZeneca vaccine doses, in March and September last year. After each one, my period stopped completely for five months.
For some women, it might be a pleasant experience to miss menstruation – unfortunately I, like many other women, have endometriosis and adenomyosis. The result was that my abdomen swelled for a year – from a 36in waist to a 52in one – and I was in constant pain. This has only now started to subside after four normal periods.
During this time I wasn’t able to get help from my GP as the advice they had been given was that the vaccine did not cause menstrual problems and I was probably in perimenopause.
I suffered in silence, lost my job due to low attendance, and had to start a new career working from home. Most evenings I had a hot water bottle and painkillers to sleep, and I was unable to walk far or bend down, leading to other aches and pains, and continued fatigue. I am only now able to go on long walks and do weights again.
Other friends in their 40s who had the AstraZeneca vaccine have had similar problems; those offered Pfizer or Moderna did not. I believe more investigations are needed before our experiences are written off. As with long Covid, pain and fatigue are being minimised and blamed on the individual.
The Covid vaccine affected my menopause and those of other women I have spoken to. I was perimenopausal in December 2021, but still had a regular period. On 30 December 2021 I had my third vaccine dose and have not had my period since. I now experience regular night sweats, and occasional daytime sweats. I turned 55 in June.
My 53-year-old friend had been in menopause for three years when her period returned within two weeks of receiving her third vaccine dose. The effect of Covid vaccinations on menopause is something that should be explored further.