Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation that occurs when you don’t have period even though you’ve gone through puberty, aren’t pregnant, and have not got menopause yet.
Missing your period can be a cause for concern for any woman, especially if you don’t know why it’s happening. In this blog post, we will discuss amenorrhea: what it is, the causes, and how to treat it. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of amenorrhea, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible.
What is amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. It occurs when you don’t have a period even though you’ve gone through puberty, aren’t pregnant, and haven’t gone through menopause yet.
It’s not about irregular periods. If you have amenorrhea, you never menstruate.
There are several reasons why someone might not be getting their menstrual periods. Some women don’t start having periods until they’re in puberty, while others have it briefly during pregnancy and after menopause due to hormonal changes that occur within these timespans.
If amenorrhea lasts for more than three months, then this should also raise suspicion with an expert on board.
Types of amenorrhea
Amenorrhea can be either primary or secondary.
It occurs when a girl hasn’t gotten her first menstrual period by the age of 15 or within five years of the onset of puberty. It may be caused by problems with the reproductive system, hormone imbalances, or certain chromosomal abnormalities.
It’s when a woman who has previously had her normal menstrual cycle fails to get it for three months or longer owing to sickness, tension, pregnancy, or medical issues.
Causes of amenorrhea
Different types of amenorrhea have different potential causes, including:
Causes of primary amenorrhea
- Chromosomal or genetic issues with the ovaries
- The structural problem with the reproductive organs
- Hormonal imbalances
Causes of secondary amenorrhea
- Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or intrauterine devices
- Excessive weight loss or gain
- Hormonal imbalances (including thyroid disorders)
- Excessive exercise
- Eating disorders
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid disorders
- Pituitary tumors (tumors of the pituitary gland)
- Hypothalamus disorders, such as functional hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition where amenorrhea is associated with stress or weight loss but isn’t caused by an organic issue with a woman’s body.
- Premature ovarian failure (Primary ovarian insufficiency)
- Uterine or ovarian surgeries
Risk factors for amenorrhea include things like
- Family history of amenorrhea
- Eating disorder
- Excessive exercise
- Psychological stress
- A side effect of certain medications
- A genetic or chromosomal condition that affects your menstrual cycle
- Obesity or being underweight
- Poor diet
- Chronic diseases
Symptoms of amenorrhea
There are several potential symptoms associated with amenorrhea, including:
- Lack of menstrual periods
- Hot flashes
- Hirsutism (excessive hair growth)
- Weight gain or loss
- Vision problems
Diagnosis of amenorrhea
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with amenorrhea, it is important to see your doctor. They will ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam and pelvic exam.
They may also order blood tests to check for hormonal imbalances or other underlying conditions. A pregnancy test will be done.
Other tests may include genetic testing, MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound to identify the underlying cause.
Treatment for amenorrhea
Treatment for amenorrhea will depend on the underlying cause.
Hormonal imbalances can be treated with birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or surgery. Your doctor will give you a hormonal medication that should cause menstrual bleeding when you stop taking it.
If amenorrhea is caused by an eating disorder, treatment will focus on addressing the underlying disorder. This may include counseling, nutrition education, and medication.
If amenorrhea is caused by excessive exercise, treatment will involve reducing the amount of exercise you do and increasing your caloric intake.
Stress-related amenorrhea may be treated with counseling, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle changes.
Surgery may be necessary to remove a tumor or correct a structural problem.
Prevention of amenorrhea
There is no sure way to prevent amenorrhea, but you can reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced and healthy diet, and reducing stress.
If you have a family history of amenorrhea, you may be at higher risk and should talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.
Risks of amenorrhea
Amenorrhea can cause several complications, including:
- Osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones)
- Pregnancy complications
- Cardiovascular diseases like heart disease
- Premature menopause
- Emotional distress or depression
Amenorrhea can be a frustrating and confusing condition. However, there are treatments available to help you manage your symptoms and get your menstrual cycle back on track.
If you think you may be suffering from amenorrhea, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and treatment options.