Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding in a woman of reproductive age.

There are two main types of amenorrhea:

Primary amenorrhea This is when a girl over age 15 has never had her period.

Secondary amenorrhea This is when a woman who has had regular periods stops having her period for six months or longer.

No health feed found.

Natural changes in the body can cause your periods to stop.

For instance, women stop menstruating during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

There are many potential causes and risk factors for amenorrhea. Sometimes the cause is unknown.

Causes and risk factors for amenorrhea include:

  • Obesity
  • Having very low body fat (less than 15 to 17 percent body fat)
  • Deficiency of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Extreme emotional stress
  • Excessive exercise
  • Use of some contraceptives (it can take several months for periods to start again after stopping certain forms of birth control)
  • Certain medications (certain antidepressants and blood pressure medicines can increase levels of a hormone that prevents ovulation)
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer
  • Noncancerous pituitary tumor
  • Scar tissue in the uterus (uterine fibroids, a cesarean section, or certain abortion procedures can scar the uterus)

Other causes of hormonal problems that may lead to amenorrhea include:

  • Long-term illness, such as heart disease or cystic fibrosis
  • Genetic defects or disorders
  • Problems with the ovaries

There are many risk factors for amenorrhea, such as:

  • Family history: If there are women in your family with amenorrhea, you might have the same problem.
  • Eating disorder: If you have problems such as anorexia or bulimia, you have higher risk of amenorrhea.
  • Athletic training: High intensity training can lead to a higher risk of amenorrhea.

The major symptom of amenorrhea is the absence of periods.

You may experience additional symptoms depending on the cause of your amenorrhea.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in breast size, or milky discharge from the breast
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Increased facial hair growth
  • Headaches or vision changes
  • Pelvic pain

There are a number of steps your doctor will take to determine whether you have amenorrhea.

First, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms to get a better picture of your medical history.

Your doctor may also perform a pelvic exam and do a pregnancy test to rule out the possibility of pregnancy.

Tests for amenorrhea may include:

  • Blood tests to check your hormone levels
  • Genetic testing
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on the cause of your amenorrhea.

Treatments for amenorrhea may include medications, surgery, lifestyle changes, or a combination of these measures.

Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Taking steps to reach a healthy weight and maintain that weight (if you're under- or overweight)
  • Interventions to reduce stress
  • If you're an athlete, modifying the way you train or eat

Medical treatments for amenorrhea may include:

  • Hormonal medications, such as birth control pills
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Medications for PCOS

Surgical treatments for amenorrhea may include:

  • Removal of scar tissue in the uterus
  • Removal of noncancerous pituitary tumor

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with amenorrhea:

  • See your health care provider and specialists regularly.
  • Take your medicine or change the dosage only after proper instructions from your doctor.
  • Don’t use any over-the-counter drugs, herbal products, or other drugs without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first.
  • Keep to a healthy weight and a balance diet.
  • Don’t over exercise or continue a strenuous workout routine.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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