Coronavirus is linked to changes in people’s periods and libido, study finds

As vaccine deployment programs continue around the world and scientists monitor new variants of COVID-19, researchers have turned their attention to the broader implications the pandemic may have had on mental and physical health. people. Charities have pointed out that school closures and closures may have caused lasting damage to the mental well-being of some people.

A new study has linked the COVID-19 pandemic to changes in people’s menstrual cycles and sex drive. Researchers in Dublin spoke to women and menstruating people about their overall health and found that the immense stress of the pandemic may have had surprising effects.

Dr Lisa Owens led a team of researchers at Trinity College Dublin. They spoke to over 1,300 women and menstruating people in April 2021 about their experiences with depression, anxiety, how they slept and how they coped with the unique pressures the pandemic has brought. could impose on them. They presented their results at the Society for Endocrinology’s annual conference in Edinburgh.

Perhaps surprisingly, 54% of those polled said they would notice their libido was lower throughout the pandemic. Leaders of the study noted that this could be because people had to take on new responsibilities and anxieties throughout COVID-19. Many people have had to agree to work from home, share a workspace with a partner, negotiate childcare and monitor the progress of the pandemic.

When you are stressed for an extended period of time, your body releases cortisol. It’s the hormone that triggers your fight or flight response and can be a really positive thing. This can ensure that you remove yourself from dangerous situations. However, many people found themselves negotiating a stressful new lifestyle that they could not escape.

When released at high levels, cortisol can decrease your libido and your interest in sex. Stress can leave you worried, tired, or in need of rest. It’s no surprise that sex isn’t high on your priority list when you feel this way. Depression and anxiety have also been linked to decreased libido.

Researchers have also linked the pandemic to disruptions in participants’ menstrual cycles.

Dr Owens found that 56% of the participants had experienced some kind of change in their menstrual cycle since the start of the pandemic. 64% said they experienced more serious PMS symptoms such as mood swings and cramps. Participants also reported a monumental increase in feelings of anxiety and sleep deprivation.

Researchers concluded that an increase in menstrual disturbances could be linked to increased mental distress and poor sleep during COVID-19. “This study was conducted at a relatively early stage of the COVID-19 vaccination program, so the duration of the pandemic and the effectiveness of the vaccine may influence future results, further investigation with objective and measurable data is necessary, ”said Dr. Michelle Maher who worked on the study. “We encourage women with reproductive disorders such as (irregular, missed periods, painful or heavy periods, PMS or reduced libido) as well as mental health disorders (including symptoms of a bad mood, anxiety, stress and lack of sleep) to see their GP for advice.

As mentioned earlier, an increase in cortisol can send your body into a state of heightened anxiety. If you go through an extended period like this, your period may stop. It’s how your body tells you it’s not ready to conceive right now.

This study, conducted at Trinity College Dublin, is not the first to highlight the impact of the pandemic on peoples’ periods.

Other scientists have sought to establish whether any of the COVID-19 vaccines have an impact on people’s menstrual cycles. After 30,000 people reported changes in their menstrual cycle after their leading immunologist Victoria Male wrote in the BMJ, “Reluctance to vaccinate among young women is largely driven by false claims that COVID-19 vaccines could harm their fertility, and failure to thoroughly investigate reports of menstrual changes after vaccination is likely to fuel these fears. If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this information will allow people to plan for potentially altered phases of the menstrual cycle. “

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