COVID-19 and abnormal uterine bleeding: potential associations and mechanisms

Jacqueline A Maybin*, Marianne Watters, Bethan Rowley, Catherine A Walker, Gemma C Sharp, Alexandra Alvergne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The impact of COVID-19 on menstruation has received a high level of public and media interest. Despite this, uncertainty exists about the advice that women and people who menstruate should receive in relation to the expected impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection, long COVID or COVID-19 vaccination on menstruation. Furthermore, the mechanisms leading to these reported menstrual changes are poorly understood. This review evaluates the published literature on COVID-19 and its impact on menstrual bleeding, discussing the strengths and limitations of these studies. We present evidence consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection and long COVID having an association with changes in menstrual bleeding parameters and that the impact of COVID vaccination on menstruation appears less significant. An overview of menstrual physiology and known causes of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is provided before discussing potential mechanisms which may underpin the menstrual disturbance reported with COVID-19, highlighting areas for future scientific study. Finally, consideration is given to the effect that menstruation may have on COVID-19, including the impact of the ovarian sex hormones on acute COVID-19 severity and susceptibility and reported variation in long COVID symptoms across the menstrual cycle. Understanding the current evidence and addressing gaps in our knowledge in this area are essential to inform public health policy, direct the treatment of menstrual disturbance and facilitate development of new therapies, which may reduce the severity of COVID-19 and improve quality of life for those experiencing long COVID.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153–171
JournalClinical science
Volume138
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2024

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