Triangle of COVID, anxiety and menstrual cycle

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2021 Nov;41(8):1257-1261. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2021.1907562. Epub 2021 May 6.

Abstract

This study aimed to examine whether the menstrual cycles of women with regular cycles have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. This cross-sectional online survey study evaluated the menstrual cycle characteristics of women in the reproductive phase of their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020. Changes before and after COVID-19 were evaluated with a paired sample t-test and chi-square test. A Pearson correlation test was used to show the relationships between variables. The study was completed with 263 participants in total. The average age of the participants was 26.3 ± 6.9 (18-45). Participants' duration of period (p = .003) and pads used per day (p = .002) decreased compared to their experience before the COVID-19 outbreak. The mean total MSQ score was 3.1 ± 0.8 (0-4), mean STAI-1 score was 45.1 ± 9 (20-78) and mean STAI-II score was 43.3 ± 5.9 (30-69). It was found that STAI-I and STAI-II scores showed a positive correlation with MSQ-Somatic subgroup scores(r = 0.153, p = .013; 0.190, p = .002) and MSQ-Total scores (0.144, p = .020; 0.175, p = .004). With the COVID-19 pandemic, increased anxiety scores increased women's menstrual symptoms while the length of periods and the number of pads used decreased.Impact statementWhat is already known on this subject? The COVID 19 pandemic, has caused enormous psychological distress potentially resulting in the development of posttraumatic stress disorder. The menstrual cycle is a process that can be affected by psychological stress.What do the results of this study add? This is the first study to examine the relationship between stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the menstrual cycle. The increases in the degree of anxiety and stress as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak was found to be high enough to affect the characteristics of the menstrual cycle in the women surveyed.What are the implications of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research? In a prospective study intended to be carried out after the outbreak ends in the future, it will be possible to evaluate whether the menstrual cycle parameters return to their former order and consequently this hypothesis will be able to be more definitively confirmed.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; menstrual cycle; outbreak; stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle*
  • Menstrual Hygiene Products / statistics & numerical data
  • Menstruation Disturbances / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Young Adult