Covid symptoms: Dr Amir urges government to update website
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Since the start of the pandemic people have reported a multitude of different symptoms, from the loss of taste and smell to nausea and vomiting. For many of us it also had an impact on our mental health, leaving many stressed and anxious. And now research has shown that stress can also manifest itself as a physical symptom in some cases.
Research by the University of Pittsburgh in the US, found that more than half of the participants in a study reported changes in their periods.
The four changes were:
- Menstrual cycle length
- Period duration
- Menstrual flow
- Increased spotting.
These were all irregularities that could have both economic and health consequences for them, the researchers noted.
Speaking in a news release lead author and assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Pitt School of Medicine, Martina Anto-Ocrah, explained: “Early in the pandemic, it would come up anecdotally in conversations with girlfriends and other women that ‘things have been kind of wacky with my period since the pandemic.
“Stress can manifest in women’s bodies as changes in menstrual function, and we know that the pandemic has been an incredibly stressful time for many people.”
As part of the study participants completed a two-part survey that included a validated COVID-19 stress scale as well as self-reported menstrual cycle changes, from March 2020 to May 2021.
Participants were people aged 18 to 45 who identified as women and were not taking hormonal birth control.
Out of the 354 people who finished both parts of the survey, 10.5 percent reported high stress.
Roughly 12 percent of participants reported changes in all four menstrual cycle features.
Ms Anto-Ocrah said: “The menstrual cycle is an indicator of women’s overall wellbeing.
“Disruption to the menstrual cycle and fluctuating hormones can impact fertility, mental health, cardiovascular disease and other outcomes.
“Ultimately, these factors can also play into relationship dynamics, potentially compounding strain on relationships.”
Researchers ruled that the women with high Covid stress were more likely to report the differences in menstrual cycle length, period duration and spotting compared to their “low-stress” peers.
“During the pandemic, women’s roles were redefined, and, as a society, we took steps back in terms of gender equity,” Ms Anto-Ocrah said.
“Women often shouldered the brunt of childcare and household tasks, and they found changes to daily activities and the risk of COVID-19 infection more stressful than men.”
There was also concern that longer, more frequent or heavier periods can cost those women more.
Ms Anto-Ocrah added: “We know that the pandemic has had negative economic impacts for a lot of people.
“If changes to your flow during a time of economic distress increase period-related costs – or the ‘tampon tax’ – economically, it’s a double whammy.”
Other symptoms of Covid include:
- A high temperature or shivering
- A new, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- An aching body
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick.
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