Amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) can occur both during puberty as well as later when you are sexual active.
Primary amenorrhea refers to a lack of menstruation until the age of 16 (if there wasn`t any menstrual cycle up to this age). On the other hand, secondary amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation given that menstrual cycles already happened. Of course, the first thing at you should think when referring to secondary amenorrhea is pregnancy, although there are several other reasons which such delays may occur, such as disorders of menstrual cycles.
This particular symptom should be seen not as a disease, but rather as a disorder that rarely represents the manifestation of any disease. Anyway, ignoring the cause of a menstruation delay can represent a reason of concern that is most of the times unjustified. With the help of a few investigations and a discussion with a doctor, any cause for your lack of menstruation can be detected right away and appropriate measures be taken.
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What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Amenorrhea?
Statistics say that between 2% and 5% from female population suffer of amenorrhea. The absence of menstruation is completely normal when the woman is pregnant, breastfeeds or has reached menopause.
Other manifestations, besides lack of menstruation, include: breast secretions, headaches, excessive hair growth, voice thickening, night sweats, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, weight gain or excessive weight loss, anxiety.
What Are Causes of Amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea can occur due to lots of reasons, some of them being completely normal for a woman, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause. Contraceptives may represent another cause, as even after stopping their administration, it can take quite some time until ovulation and menstruation are restored (if menstruation doesn`t resume in 3 months, you may need to perform a medical investigation). Certain drugs may determine menstruation to stop, including some antipsychotic medications, those for chemotherapy, allergies, tension or antidepressants.
There may also be a series of factors related to your lifestyle that may contribute in a significant way to the occurrence of amenorrhea, such as: low body weight interrupts lots of hormonal functions in the body, sometimes stopping ovulation. Women who suffer of food disorders don`t experience menstruation due to hormonal changes. Also, women who take part in activities that involve lots of physical effort may notice an interruption of their menstrual cycle. Stress may temporarily influence the function of hypothalamus, and ovulation and menstruation consequently stop.
There are also a series of hormonal imbalances known that may cause this problem, such as: polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid dysfunction, pituitary tumor, premature menopause/ovarian failure.
Last but not least, there may be some structural issues related to the sexual organs, such as: uterine lesions that prevent the normal development and decomposition of the endometrium, lack of reproductive organs that obviously aren`t able to determine the occurrence of menstruation, or vaginal abnormalities.
How Can You Diagnose Amenorrhea?
Although this disorder can rarely represent a serious health problem, it can sometimes represent a sign of alarm for a series of hormonal disorders. Their discovery might take a lot of time and may require lots of laboratory tests.
The first test that will be recommended by the doctor (if you won`t do it on your won at home before visiting a doctor) is the pregnancy test. The doctor will perform a gynecological examination through which will evaluate if there`s a possible pregnancy involved as well as the female genital state with any pathological elements that could form the basis of this disorder.
The next step is represented by the blood tests which will determine the level of several hormones. It will be made an assessment of the thyroid hormone through the circulating level of its hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine), of prolactin, etc. It will also be made a progesterone challenge test.
Depending on the signs and symptoms associated with the results of the laboratory tests, it will be established whether if there are other tests necessary. Other type of investigations, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance, may highlight any pituitary tumors, female genital abnormalities, etc.
As a last resort, you may need to do a laparoscopy or mini-invasive hysteroscopy, which are invasive methods of examinations of the sexual organs that allow the doctor a direct exploration.
What Are the Treatments of Amenorrhea?
In some women, a nutritional deficiency caused by a diet may lead to amenorrhea. In this case, they are recommended a well balanced diet.
Other women, due to an excessive body weight, may confront with this condition, a case in which they are recommended to reduce fats in their diets and perform moderate exercises to maintain an ideal weight.
If you perform demanding physical activities more than 8 hours per day, you may also confront with this unpleasant physical condition. A return to a moderate physical schedule will also bring a regular menstrual cycle being restored.
By amenorrhea is caused by an emotional stress, you should find a way to avoid stressing yourself so much.
Medication treatments depend strictly on the causes that led to the occurrence of the condition. If the cause involved an anatomical abnormality of the genital tract, it`s possible to even be advised for a surgery.
Talk to your doctor and see exactly what cause led to the occurrence of your medical condition and follow the treatment recommended.
- Lady`s Mantle – Also known as the women`s plant, Lady`s mantle is very active in the female genital area. The plant has been used even since antiquity and still represents a good ally for the regulation of the female hormonal system. This tonic plant stimulates the uterine muscle development and is quite useful in all sorts of disorders that involve menstruation (amenorrhea, dysmenorrheal, etc), as well as avoid miscarriages or menopausal disorders. Before using this plant, it needs to be tested as it has a high potential allergen and can lead to allergies.
- Dill Seeds – The Egyptians were the first to use the seeds of this plant for their great benefits. One of these beneficial effects is to trigger menstruation, so they represent a good remedy for our medical condition, by simply acting quite effectively by stimulating the ovaries as well as the processes that occur in the lining of the uterus. Dill seeds contain herbal estrogens, being recommended for compensating deficiencies related to estrogen which, for various reasons, are experienced by women. Dill and its seeds support the development of the female secondary characteristics, and they are also used to treat sterility and premature menopause.
- Rattle – This yellow plant represents a reliable ally for all women and among the best natural remedies when it comes to amenorrhea, their effect being gentle but longer lasting than those of other plants. Additionally, rattle can be constantly consumed as tea, as its side effects are practically inexistent if the daily doses are respected and are suitable for long-term diets. This plant has an emenagogic effect, antispastic, antiseptic and antitumoral.
Complications & Preventing
- Infertility, if you don`t ovulate and don`t have a menstruation, you cannot remain pregnant.
- Osteoporosis, if amenorrhea is caused by low levels of estrogen.
Some factors related to the lifestyle, such as excessive physical activities or poor diet can be managed by you. Also, try to reduce the stress level if you may be in this situation, and use the help of your family, friends or doctor.
Lastly, follow your menstrual cycle and talk to your doctor if you notice any issue. Note the date when your menstruation occurred, its duration and problematic signs that you may experience.
Can Amenorrhea Lead to Infertility?
Additionally to hormone level changes, the menstrual cycle can be influenced by illness or stress. Missing a single menstrual period isn`t really a symptom of a severe issue or condition, but amenorrhea for a few months might represent a symptom of a chronic medical condition or illness which may contribute to infertility.
Can Amenorrhea Make You Gain Weight?
Physical or emotional stress might cause this condition for as long as the stress is present. Fast weight gain or loss, chronic illness and drugs might lead to missed menstrual periods. After hysterectomy or after menopause starts, amenorrhea becomes permanent.