The COVID-19 pandemic and the menstrual cycle: research gaps and opportunities


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions on social media and blogs have indicated that women have experienced menstrual changes, including altered menstrual duration, frequency, regularity, and volume (heavier bleeding and clotting), increased dysmenorrhea, and worsened premenstrual syndrome. There have been a small number of scientific studies of variable quality reporting on menstrual cycle features during the pandemic, but it is still unclear whether apparent changes are due to COVID-19 infection/illness itself, or other pandemic-related factors like increased psychological stress and changes in health behaviours. It is also unclear to what degree current findings are explained by reporting bias, recall bias, selection bias and confounding factors. Further research is urgently needed. We provide a list of outstanding research questions and potential approaches to address them. Findings can inform policies to mitigate against gender inequalities in health and society, allowing us to build back better post-COVID.

In: International Journal of Epidemiology (In Press),