How COVID-19 affects the menstrual cycle and how to restore it


Women complain about the following menstrual irregularities after coronavirus:

  • Cycle failure. Menstruation does not come at the expected time, while there are no characteristic signs of impending menstruation (breast swelling, changes in vaginal discharge). These delays can be long, up to 2-3 weeks or more.
  • Abundant menstruation (menorrhagia). You can talk about the development of menorrhagia if menstruation does not end after 6-7 days, is accompanied by the release of large blood clots, and the total volume of blood lost exceeds 150 ml.
  • Scanty periods (hypomenorrhea). In this case, the woman loses less than 50 ml of blood during the entire period of menstruation. The discharge is not abundant, by the 3rd day they become spotting.
  • Cycle shortening. The physiological norm is a cycle of 21-35 days. After COVID-19, women may find their periods start earlier, and the time interval between them is reduced to 3 weeks or less.
  • Intermenstrual bleeding. Bloody or brown discharge not associated with menstruation is a pathological symptom. Normally, a healthy woman should not have them.
  • Painful menses. Intense painful sensations during menstruation, which disrupt a woman’s performance, are also not the norm.

Why does the cycle “fail” after covid?

Doctors and scientists do not yet have an unequivocal answer: the situation has not been studied very well. But the medical community still has several versions. “The virus can have both a direct damaging effect on the pituitary gland, the main regulator of female hormones located in the brain, and act indirectly against the background of anxiety disorders during a pandemic,” comments Ekaterina Shulga. Plus, the very course of covid becomes a serious stress for the body. “During the fight against infection, the function of the adrenal glands is sharply activated, the synthesis of immune defense substances begins. These reactions inhibit the production of sex hormones and can block ovulation. From the point of view of evolution, this protects a woman from conception during an unfavorable period, ”adds Svetlana Mishina. The consequences of such disorders can be very serious — post-COVID cycle failures can worsen reproductive function. “Studies of the hormonal background of patients after covid (moderate and severe) show a decrease in the level of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), an increase in prolactin, luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone. All these hormones are indicators of reproductive health,” says Ekaterina Shulga. — So, AMH directly reflects the «reserve» of eggs in the ovaries, and if it is reduced, then the chances of pregnancy are reduced. The ability to conceive decreases especially sharply with the age of a woman over 37 years old. This happens all the time, regardless of concomitant diseases. And if covid also joins, then the process of “extinction” of the ovaries develops faster.”

Can the cycle be restored?

There is a significant chance that if a woman did not suffer from gynecological diseases before COVID-19, her cycle will recover on its own. Everything will be back to normal within 2-3 months. The «risk group» for the development of complications from the reproductive system includes women who have previously been diagnosed with the following pathologies:

  • polycystic ovary syndrome;
  • inflammatory diseases of the appendages;
  • hormonal dysfunction.

It is with these violations that there are problems with the menstrual cycle (absence of menstruation, heavy bleeding, pain). The postponed COVID-19 hits the most vulnerable points of the body, exacerbating the situation. The correct sleep pattern will help in this (at least 7 hours a day with a «light out» no later than 23.00), giving up alcohol and smoking, reducing the negative information flow, and a balanced diet. Additional appointments of vitamins and drugs should be made only by your doctor. Do not self-medicate. Even seemingly harmless vitamins and dietary supplements can cause serious side effects in case of an overdose or in combination with certain medications. Observations show that in most patients, menstruation is restored 1-3 months after suffering covid. With concomitant gynecological diseases, the recovery process may be slower or not occur at all.

Downed cycle after covid: when it’s time to see a doctor

If within three months after you had a «corona», the cycle still fails, you should definitely see a doctor. It is not recommended to self-medicate and strive to artificially induce menstruation. “You need to understand that a regular cycle, as an indicator of healthy reproductive function, depends on your overall health.

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