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Pandemic Didn't Affect Periods, New Study Claims

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Pandemic Didn't Affect Periods, New Study Claims

If you felt like the effects of the pandemic changed your menstrual cycle, you wouldn't be alone.

In fact, over the last two years, it seems like most of us have experienced - or know someone who has experienced - some changes to their periods, whether it be shorter or longer cycles, more intense period pain, or a change to their usual PMS symptoms.

But despite what we might be discussing in our group chat, a new study by Natural Cycles has revealed that in general, there have been no 'significant differences' to women's cycles before and during the pandemic.

A new study by Natural Cycles has revealed that in general, there have been no 'significant differences' (Credit: Alamy)
A new study by Natural Cycles has revealed that in general, there have been no 'significant differences' (Credit: Alamy)
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The contraceptive app measured changes in over 18,000 women, relating to anovulation - where an egg does not release and therefore a woman does not ovulate - abnormal cycle length and prolonged bleeding.

Natural Cycles found that while nearly half of the woman reported more pandemic-related stress, 45.6 per cent of those were not more likely to experience cycle abnormalities.

The study - published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE) - also revealed that changes in average cycle length were not significant, and remained at 29 days - as did the average length of a woman's period, which stayed the same at four days.

Some 9.6 per cent of women recorded fewer anovulatory cycles (in which ovulation does not occur) while less than one in five recorded abnormal cycle lengths.

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The contraceptive app measured changes in over 18,000 women (Credit: Alamy)
The contraceptive app measured changes in over 18,000 women (Credit: Alamy)

The findings will likely be surprising to a number of women, who have reported noticeable changes in their cycles during the pandemic.

Last year, one person wrote on Twitter: "So This #Coronavirus Is Delaying My Menstrual Cycle Too?" As another penned:[I've] never had my period like this before, just had to put 3 pads on, this pandemic is not only messing with my mind but also my whole body".

A third joked: "Covid anxiety really has turned my menstrual cycle into a bully who thinks it can just show up DAYS LATE??!"

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One woman told Tyla: "I've been lucky enough to have regular periods my whole life, arriving pretty much bang on every 28 days. But over the past few months they've been all over the place, with unusually heavy bleeding. It's not just unpredictable, but can be extremely distressing, too."

Average cycle lengths stayed the same (Credit: Alamy)
Average cycle lengths stayed the same (Credit: Alamy)

The app explain that while it's not to say that no cycles were impacted by the pandemic, "as a whole, there was less of an impact than originally thought or expected given the history of traumatic events, such as wars, have been found to have on the menstrual cycle".

Commenting on the findings, Dr Elina Berglund, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Natural Cycles, said: “While there is no clinical evidence to support the claim that the stress of the COVID pandemic impacted menstrual cycles, it does not mean women were not impacted by the pandemic.

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"Women are strong and our bodies are resilient, but the pandemic has not been easy for us, especially when you look at other evidence, such as the number of women who have left the workforce since the pandemic began.” 

Some women reported more painful periods (Credit: Alamy)
Some women reported more painful periods (Credit: Alamy)

Dr Jack Pearson, Natural Cycles’ lead medical researcher and on-staff medical expert, added: “The menstrual cycle is often overlooked and under-researched, especially when considering what a key indicator it is for a woman’s overall health.

"It’s our mission at Natural Cycles to continue to research the menstrual cycle and are currently conducting research into any potential impact the COVID vaccine has had on menstrual cycles.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Health

Lucy Devine
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