There’s no escaping it – COVID-19 has never been far from anyone’s mind over the past year. You may have been avoiding the news or social media in a bid to stay sane. The virus has unquestionably had an impact on the way we all live our lives.
In recent months, the subject of ‘long COVID’ has become more prevalent. More and more people report experiencing symptoms long after the illness should have subsided.
Symptoms of long COVID include fatigue, fever and headaches, which tend to come and go. You might feel fine for a couple of weeks, then wake up one morning feeling like you’re coming down with it all over again.
However, for some women with long COVID, another worrying symptom is starting to emerge. Many are reporting disruption in their menstrual cycles.
Long COVID and menstruation
Medical News Today spoke to six women experiencing long COVID. All of whom thought that the virus had had an impact on their periods.
Two of the women interviewed reported missing several periods in the months after they initially contracted the virus. Others said they had experienced clotting.
One woman said she was so alarmed by the sight of one clot that she took a photograph and sent it to her GP. The doctor reassured her that such clots were entirely normal. “But I know it isn’t normal for me”, the woman told MNT.
The emotional impact
There’s no denying that a woman’s menstrual cycle has a huge impact on her emotional wellbeing. Even those of us who don’t suffer particularly from PMS will notice a change in our mood around the time of our period. Long COVID sufferers have reported that this has increased since they became ill.
One woman told MNT: “I feel like I have PMS all the time. COVID has also made me more sensitive emotionally and I am aware of emotional ups and downs that I’m having now that I didn’t have before.”
Symptoms syncing with the cycle
Some of the women also feel that their long COVID symptoms tend to flare up around the time of their period:
“In the days leading up to my period, my eczema would worsen, my breathing would start to get more difficult. My POTS [post orthostatic tachycardia syndrome] would act up. I would get a migraine. My fingertips would have sharp pains. My joints would start hurting and my right leg would start tingling”, said one.
Not much is known medically about the reasons for long COVID, or the long-term impact it has on your health. It seems certain that in 2021 we will find out more. In the meantime, if you are concerned that the virus could be having an effect on your cycle, it is worth speaking to a medical practitioner.