++ Disclaimer ++
This article is based solely on my personal experience and does not follow any scientific studies. It does not contain any recommendations for action or health advice. Also, the information here is not intended for self-diagnosis. In case of problems regarding corona and menstruation, always contact your trusted medical professional directly. Click here for the latest information from World Organization of Health (WHO) and the WHO’s advice for the public (as of March 2022).
I had COVID and my period … at the same time!
COVID and menstruation? Today I’m sharing my personal experience with COVID and menstruation. I’ll give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what it was like when it all happens at the same time and why my basal body temperature told me something was wrong. I can tell you one thing up front: I got through it all just fine and it wasn’t as bad as it might sound at first.
We bleed about 20-25 % of the month
Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to have the coronavirus? And have you ever wondered what it would be like to have corona and menstruation at the same time? For many probably the worst combination ever. But still the reality for many of us. Because if we bleed about 20-25 % of the month, it’s not that unlikely to have a positive COVID test in our hands that very week as well. So, what does it mean when we experience our menstruation and COVID at the same time? How does it really feel? And is our menstruation different then?
Were those the very first signs?
On Sunday evening, I did a quick COVID test at home before going to a friend’s house to eat delicious homemade tacos together. Negative. Monday morning, I had a slightly upset stomach, but that went away quickly. Maybe I had just eaten too much the night before? Or were the hormones responsible for it? It was cycle day 25 for me and shortly before my period starts, my stomach is sometimes a bit upset. So far, everything was still as usual, I thought.
Do I have corona or is it just PMS?
Then on Tuesday I was just tired and kind of emotionally overwhelmed. Work had felt heavy and I couldn’t concentrate. By now I was at cycle day 26, which is right in the prime of the luteal phase. This phase in the cycle is also known to many as PMS – premenstrual sensitivity. So, I thought that I could blame my emotions and feelings on PMS. But because I was so low on energy and tired, I closed the laptop much earlier than usual in the afternoon and went to bed. I wanted to rest and take a little nap … That turned into three hours! Oops. At least I felt a lot better afterwards. But in the evening, I got a bad headache, which I fortunately rarely have. Nevertheless, I still thought at that moment: This is ‘just’ PMS. So, I still went to bed early.
Increased basal body temperature and COVID
The next morning came the big aha moment! Like every morning, I measured my basal body temperature half-asleep. When I read the number on the thermometer, I thought I had misread it. I quickly turned on my cell phone light to look at it again. It said 37.6 degrees Celsius. That’s not quite a fever yet. But still, the alarm bells immediately rang in my head: That can’t be right!? This is way too high! I’ve never had such a high temperature before … It doesn’t even fit properly on my cycle sheet anymore!
How cycle tracking can give us real-time information about our bodies
The day before, my basal body temperature was still 36.8 degrees Celsius – for me, a normal value for the luteal phase (the time between ovulation and my period). I’ve been tracking my basal body temperature daily for a few years now, and I know that such an extreme jump in temperature from one day to the next is not normal for me. I was on cycle day 28 and my basal body temperature should have been getting lower in preparation for my period. I knew immediately: Something was wrong here!
Unfortunately my headache had only improved a little overnight, and a slight sore throat had come along as well. Those were the signs of the COVID-19 disease, weren’t they? I did a quick test and immediately the two red lines were visible: Positive.
someWhy cycle awareness is so special
Even before I took a COVID test, I knew something was wrong simply by checking my basal body temperature. This is exactly why I love tracking my cycle. If we know how to properly read and interpret our body’s various signals, our menstrual cycle in particular can tell us true insider knowledge about our health in real time. And I just find that very special when I experience it in such a concrete way. Because I track my cycle daily, I know what is normal for me. My elevated basal body temperature had already told me in the morning while still in bed: Something is different in your body today!
My COVID diary: Netflix and chill
There I was, with a positive test. Quarantine was on the agenda. Since I felt pretty weak anyway, I just stayed in bed and slept a lot. Luckily, due to my cyclical approach to work, I had very few meetings scheduled for my PMS period and the first few days of my menstruation. I cancelled all my appointments (including digital calls) right away so I could get some needed rest. Later, I started watching the series “Workin’ Moms” on Netflix – with five seasons perfect for a few days in bed. The headaches lessened and I felt ok. I just chilled in bed a lot. Day one and two went by unspectacularly. I had a very mild course, thankfully, and no other complaints besides a mild headache and feeling tired.
When everything comes together: COVID and menstruation
On Friday, cycle day 30, my basal body temperature dropped (36.3 degrees) – just as I know it from my cycle at the end of the luteal phase. I knew: My period starts today. So cycle day 30 soon became cycle day 1. My daily COVID schedule: Netflix in bed and rest. That honestly fit pretty perfectly with my ideal daily schedule during menstruation. I just drank more tea and brought my hot water bottle with me to bed. Curious to see if the coronavirus changes my menstruation, I tracked everything closely and wrote it down in my cycle journal.
Did my menstruation change because of COVID?
My menstruation was different than usual. Here’s a little overview for you:
- The first two days of my menstruation were heavier than usual, and I had quite a lot of blood clots, which is also not typical for my menstruation.
- On the third day, my period felt like it was already over, and I only had very few blood drops throughout the day. Also unusual for me – normally I still have a normal bleeding.
- On the fourth and fifth day I still had light bleeding, as usual.
- On the sixth day I still had light spotting and then my menstruation was over.
Even though the heaviness of my bleeding (including blood clots) on the individual days was completely different than usual, my period was similar in length. What I find particularly interesting is that the amount of blood was the same as usual but distributed over the six days in a completely different way.
When quarantine is good for your period pain
I also had only mild period pain or cramping. I think this is where quarantine was a plus for my period more than anything else. If I rest well and have my hot water bottle with me during the first few days of my period, my body usually thanks me with only mild discomfort. Since I had no appointments anyway due to COVID and was in the room all day (and well, had to be), I was able to give my body the rest it needed for menstruation.
COVID and menstruation: Maybe it’s okay after all?
My personal conclusion: COVID and menstruation is not such a bad combination as I had thought at the beginning. Of course, it would have been nicer if I hadn’t had the coronavirus … But experiencing both at the same time was a good fit for me personally. Because both COVID and my period wanted the same thing from my body: Rest. And that’s what I was able to give myself because of the quarantine.
Without feeling bad, I spent a week in bed – with Netflix, a book and a hot water bottle. Could have been worse. Also, the disease was somewhat demystified for me. Before, it was always the “invisible danger” in my perception. Now that I had the coronavirus, at least the fear of getting a severe course is taken away. I am thankful for my body that it took it all so well and for the vaccinations (boosted) that probably prevented a more severe progress.
Scientific studies are unfortunately still lacking
Science is making more and more progress. In the meantime, the first study results have been published that investigate the influence of the COVID vaccination on our menstrual cycle. The study focused mainly on the length of the cycle. But what about information from the disease and our cycle? How do the period and COVID influence each other?
Even more testimonials from COVID and menstruation
Have you had COVID yourself? Maybe even along with your menstruation? If so, I’d love to hear about your personal experiences in the comments – especially as it relates to your cycle and menstruation.