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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Periods

In Elemental. More on Medium.

A long history of dismissing women’s experiences in medicine may be limiting reported side effects in clinical trials

a Black woman wearing a blue sleeveless top receives a bandaid after receiving a vaccination from a white-appearing woman whose face is away from the camera
a Black woman wearing a blue sleeveless top receives a bandaid after receiving a vaccination from a white-appearing woman whose face is away from the camera
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Vaccine trials include tens of thousands of people in phase 3 to ensure that even rare side effects are more likely to be detected. But once the vaccine is authorized and millions of people have begun receiving it, sometimes researchers learn about other even rarer side effects not captured in the trials. But scientists could also miss a side effect if they simply don’t ask about it — or don’t record it when participants report it.

That may be why it’s taken months after the vaccines were authorized by the FDA to explore whether changes in menstruation might be a…


Physicians are learning to ask more questions about periods to get a better understanding of a person’s overall health

An illustration of a woman holding a glowing tear drop.
An illustration of a woman holding a glowing tear drop.
Illustration: Sophi Gullbrants

It happens monthly, for two up to seven days at a time. A woman will menstruate for about seven years during her lifetime, on average. And yet there are still plenty of unknowns and misunderstandings around the effect menstruation has on women’s health.

“There is tremendous variation in how girls and women think about menstruation and what they define as healthy and normal,” says Dr. Geri Hewitt, a professor of obstetrics/gynecology at Ohio State University, and a chair of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) adolescent health committee. “There is also tremendous cultural variation regarding expectations around menses.”

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