The adverse effects of COVID-19 vaccines have received a great deal of public attention. According to recent research, many women experience menstrual irregularities following vaccination, and postmenopausal women may even be at an increased risk of vaginal bleeding, which could indicate precancerous lesions or early-stage endometrial cancer.
Wei-Ling Chou, a TCM specialist at Keelung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taiwan, explained that when vaccines cause an immune response, those with strong immune systems can quickly alleviate symptoms, whereas those with weaker immunity may experience more severe symptoms. In such cases, complementary TCM or acupuncture can help with body regulation, immune balance, and pain relief.
Unexpected Vaginal Bleeding in Postmenopausal Women
On September 22, the journal Science Advances published a study in which a research team observed the conditions of 21,925 menopausal or perimenopausal women in Norway after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Within four weeks of receiving either the first or second vaccine dose, approximately half of the participants reported vaginal bleeding.
The researchers discovered that postmenopausal women had a two- to threefold increase in vaginal bleeding risk in the four weeks following vaccination compared to before vaccination. Women in the perimenopausal phase, defined as the period preceding menopause and lasting up to one year, had a three- to fivefold increase in their risk of vaginal bleeding after receiving the vaccine.
Premenopausal women who received the Moderna vaccine had a 32% greater risk of vaginal bleeding than those who received the Pfizer vaccine.
Furthermore, two large-scale studies using health record systems in the United States and Sweden found that the risk of postmenopausal bleeding increased by 21 and 14 percent, respectively, compared to before vaccination.
According to the study, this could be related to the COVID-19 virus spike protein used in the vaccine.
Postmenopausal bleeding is typically regarded as a serious medical concern, as it may be an early indicator of diseases such as endometrial cancer and precancerous lesions. “The cause of bleeding after vaccination is still unclear, but if it is confirmed as a known side effect of the vaccine, doctors can take this into account when evaluating a patient’s condition,” Kate Clancy, a biological anthropologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, told Nature.
Vaccines can also cause irregular menstrual cycles. COVID-19 vaccination has been linked to an increase in menstrual cycle length, according to a study published in BMJ Medicine. The study included 19,622 people (with an average age of 30), 14,936 of whom received the vaccine and 4,686 who did not. Individuals who received the first and second doses of the vaccine had a one-day increase in menstrual cycle length, but those who received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within a month had a 3.7-day increase in menstrual cycle length.
The researchers also discovered a significant increase in the proportion of people who experienced an increase in cycle length of more than eight days, with 13.5 percent receiving the vaccine and 5% not.
Effectiveness of Ancient Treatment for Menstrual Irregularities
In mid-January, Ms. Liao, a 35-year-old Taiwanese woman, received her third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Her menstruation became irregular shortly after, lasting approximately two weeks, followed by another episode of heavy bleeding lasting two to three days. In addition, she had two menstrual cycles in a month. After a Western medical examination revealed no pathological changes, she experienced another bout of heavy bleeding about a week later. This prompted her to seek TCM treatment.
Ms. Chou noted that prior to the vaccine, Ms. Liao had regular menstrual cycles with normal blood flow. Ms. Chou prescribed Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan (containing Ramulus Cinnamomi and Poria) in combination with heat-clearing and blood-cooling herbs to clear the patient’s body of residual heat. Ms. Liao’s menstrual cycles returned to normal after that.
Ms. Chou explained that once the vaccine enters the body, it triggers an immune response that may target the uterus in women, causing the body to retain “pathogenic heat” (internal heat). This can cause symptoms such as breakthrough bleeding. TCM views it as a battle between good (the body’s natural immunity) and evil (pathogenic factors). Symptoms will resolve quickly if the body’s immunity is strong enough. Otherwise, more severe symptoms may develop.
Some of the herbs mentioned in this article may be unfamiliar to you, but they are commonly found in health food and Asian grocery stores. It should be noted that treatment methods may differ depending on the individual. A specific treatment plan should be discussed with a health care professional.