The University of Granada has started the study Effects of vaccination against the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the menstrual cycle of women of childbearing age. But he has given it another name. “It’s called EVA. We wanted a short, feminine name,” says the head of the investigation, Laura Baena.
A midwife collects data on menstrual alterations after receiving COVID-19 vaccines: “Don’t take us for crazy”
This “pioneering” project, involving more than 120 women, is designed to assess menstrual abnormalities after vaccination against COVID-19. The reception has been “very good”, highlights Baena. The Nursing Department of the University of Granada (UGR) has already begun to record the duration of menstrual cycles, the bleeding pattern and other parameters to give a “stronger response” to these symptoms. Beyond the perceptions of each woman, the intention is to “objectify” these changes and the study also includes blood tests to provide clotting and hormone level profiles.
The Spanish Pharmacovigilance System has registered 291 notifications related to the reproductive system and breast, according to data from its latest vaccine report COVID-19. These figures are far from other notifications such as general disorders (15,814) or of the nervous system (10,060) that lead the classification of adverse events in Spain after vaccination by COVID-19. “They cannot be considered adverse reactions but health problems that have occurred in temporary association with the vaccine,” they explain from the Ministry of Health. And they add: “To date, no relationship has been found between these bleeds and the administration of the vaccine.”
The Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) has indicated that the number of events is “reduced” and among them are metrorrhagia (unscheduled vaginal bleeding), unspecified menstrual disorder, amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods) and dysmenorrhea (abdominal pain prior to menstruation).
For Baena it is “striking” that these side effects have not been discussed as they are done with others such as headache, fever or fatigue. “It would have been interesting if the symptoms related to menstruation were known because there are many women going to the gynecologist or asking for tests that are not necessary,” says the researcher at the UGR.
The beginning: the questionnaire
It all started when Ana, a nurse from Granada, wanted to inform those responsible for pharmacovigilance at her hospital that she had had “a rare spot” after completing the vaccination schedule against COVID-19. They did not listen to him. And she was not the only one.
The midwife and sexologist Laura Chamber He brought together testimonies of many women who had suffered menstrual alterations after being vaccinated and launched a questionnaire on his Instagram profile. It was completed by more than 2,800 people and the results were sent to the Spanish Pharmacovigilance System. “As menstruating people we have every right to be diagnosed, treated and made visible in this matter,” Chamber said at the time to this newspaper.
Now the midwife admits feeling “very happy” because the University of Granada has echoed her survey, which is still active, and to which more than 5,500 people have already answered. “It has prompted scientific studies that can back up those effects,” he says. But above all, Chamber highlights that “the most important thing is to give women peace of mind and that these mild or temporary symptoms can occur after vaccination.”
“Constant abdominal pain, as if my period were going to come, which will not go away at all.” “My period after the second dose was very heavy.” “I have been two and a half months without menstruating since the first dose with Pfizer.” “After the second dose with Moderna it was 10 days ahead of me and generally I tend to be very punctual. “These are just some of the comments generated on social networks by the article published in this newspaper last March.
Knowing these possible menstrual alterations was one of the main reasons why Cámara designed the questionnaire since many women had not “fallen” in tracing a relationship with the vaccine against COVID-19. “Menstruation gives clues about the state of health of women,” says Baena.
From the Ministry of Health they remind that anyone can report an adverse event with vaccines against COVID-19 through the website of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) www.notificaram.es or in the regional pharmacovigilance centers.