By Alexandra Segond
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Of the rules early or very late, heavy bleeding, unusual paina very violent premenstrual syndrome… Since the appearance of the first Covid vaccines and the launch of the vaccination campaign, many women noticed changes in their menstrual cycle.
According to the latest data from the regional pharmacovigilance centers (CRPV) dated April 28, 2022 and relayed by the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM), 9,381 cases of menstrual disorders were recorded after vaccination with the Comirnaty from Pfizer-BioNTech and 1,557 with the Spikevax vaccine from Moderna.
And the number of testimonials could still grow. Since this Tuesday, July 19, 2022, the ANSM has called on vaccinated women (first, second, third dose or booster dose) who have observed disorders in their periods to declare them.
An online reporting platform
Menstruating women with abnormalities since their vaccination against Covid, such as changes in “the frequency and intensity of bleeding”, bleeding appearing between two cycles (also called metrorrhagia) or abnormal pain, are invited to notify health authorities.
They can either consult their doctor – who, if he deems it, will be able to carry out “additional examinations” – or to report their troubles on the signalement.social.sante.gouv.fr portal, attached to the Ministry of Health.
By reporting side effects that are not yet known, you are helping to build knowledge about side effects.
To support you in your declaration, the ANSM has also published a detailed help guide online. You can find it by clicking here or view or download it below.
View or download the file.
How do I report?
If you go through the reporting portal, there you go how does this platform work (and it’s very simple). On the home page, you indicate whether you are an individual or a healthcare professional.
This gives you access to a quizin which you will have to tick the situation that relates most to yours: if you think that the side effects are due to a medicine / vaccine (including anti-Covid vaccines), to a medical material or device, or finally to a drug for veterinary use.
You can also fill in one or more elements, if you believe that they are all related to the adverse event that you wish to report.
Once you have completed this short questionnaire, your request will be handled by an expert from the regional pharmacovigilance center. He may need to contact you again to complete the investigation.
No official link
Testimonials continue to flow since the launch of anti-Covid vaccines – the first was that developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and authorized on December 21.
On social networks, accounts have even been specially created to identify the potential side effects of vaccines on menstruation – like @ouestmoncycle on Twitter (more than 15,000 subscribers).
Several studies since seem to go in the direction of side effects that can be attributed to vaccination. The latest was conducted by the University of Illinois at Washington University School of Medicine, published July 15 in the journal Science Advances.
This survey, based on the testimonies of nearly 40,000 fully vaccinated women, estimates that 42% of menstruating people have had heavier bleeding than usual after being vaccinated.
If the health authorities promise to study the question further, for the time being, still no official link has been established between vaccine and menstrual disorders.
The Pharmacovigilance Committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) thus considers, in conclusions issued on June 10, 2022, that no link has been found between messenger RNA vaccines and the absence of menstruation.
Generally, [le comité de pharmacovigilance] considered that the available data do not support the causal association and an update of the product information for either vaccine.
Same story on the ANSM side. In its last point dated July 19, 2022, the agency indicates that to date, “the available data do not make it possible to describe the mechanism of occurrence of these menstrual cycle disorders. »
On the leaflets of the different vaccines authorized in France – Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen and recently Novavax – there is no indication of possible side effects on the menstrual cycle. “The health professionals explained that they saw in practice few serious cases of menstrual disorders and that it was difficult to analyze them because they were often poorly documented”, justifies the ANSM.
In their experience, the majority of observed menstrual disturbances were generally mild, short-lived, and self-limiting.
The immune system at stake
Several hypotheses have however been put forward by the ANSM in an attempt to explain these disturbances. Among them, the reactogenicity (fever, headache, nausea, etc.) caused by vaccination which “could, as during an infection, influence the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle”, specifies the authority.
Indeed, as explained to us in this previous article by Dr. Israel Nisand, President of the National College of French Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the female menstrual cycle is governed by both hormones and the immune system. Boosting our immunity with a vaccine could therefore affect our hormonal system.
Another avenue mentioned: disturbances caused by vaccination, but also the rather anxiety-provoking health context.
All women will say it: the rules are very badly named! They are not always regular and can be influenced by a whole host of things, such as sleep or stress.
The vaccination campaign continues
The investigations will however continue, promise the health authorities, in parallel with the continuation of the vaccination.
Now the government is betting on booster doses, with the extension, since Wednesday July 20, of the second booster dose to five million people. Bringing the total number of eligible people to 17 million.
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