What Does Amenorrhea Mean?

Amenorrhea can be described as the absence of menstrual flow in a woman of reproductive age. It can be a very disturbing condition. When a female has gotten to the puberty age, isn’t pregnant, haven’t gotten to menopausal stage, yet isn’t seeing her monthly period, then it means she may be experiencing amenorrhea.

Types of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea can be grouped into two main types:
Primary amenorrhea: This occurs when a girl over age 15 has never seen her period.
Secondary amenorrhea: This is when a woman who has been seeing her period regularly suddenly stops having her period for six months or above.

Causes of Amenorrhea

Your period can stop due to natural changes in the body. For example, women stop menstruating during pregnancy and nursing period. There are many potential causes and risk factors for amenorrhea. Though in some cases, the cause is unknown.
Causes and risk factors for this condition include:
  • Very low body fat (less than 15 to 17 percent body fat)
  • Obesity
  • Excessive exercise
  • Deficiency of leptin, a hormone that controls appetite
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Extreme emotional stress
  • Chemotherapy and radiation
  • 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)
  • Problems with ovaries
  • Noncancerous pituitary tumor
  • Scar tissue in the uterus (Cystic fibrosis
  • Genetic defects or disorders

Symptoms of Amenorrhea

The major symptom of amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual periods. Depending on your cause, you may experience other symptoms.
READ ALSO: Eight Possible Causes Of A Late Or Missed Menstrual Period
Other symptoms may include:
  • Hair loss
  • Facial hair growth
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Acne
  • Headaches or vision changes
  • Pelvic pain

Diagnosis of Amenorrhea

To diagnose this condition, there are a number of steps your doctor use. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history. Also, your doctor may also perform a pelvic exam and do a pregnancy test to rule out possibility of pregnancy.
Read also: Home remedies for menstrual pain
Tests for amenorrhea may include:
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Blood tests to check your hormone levels
  • Genetic testing
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Treatment for Amenorrhea

Treatment will depend on the main cause responsible for your absence of period. Possible treatments for amenorrhea include lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, or a combination of these treatments.
Lifestyle changes may include:
  • Taking steps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Interventions to ease stress
  • Modify your eating or training pattern if you’re an athlete
READ ALSO: Possible Causes of Heavy Menstrual Period
Medical treatments for amenorrhea may include:
  • Medications for PCOS
  • Hormonal medications
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Medications for PCOS
Surgical treatments for amenorrhea may include:
  • Removing scar tissue in the uterus
  • Removing noncancerous pituitary tumor

Wrapping Up

If your menstrual flow is being affected by factors such as depression, stress, and weight gain or loss, you can restore it by managing these factors. If it is caused by an unknown factor, your doctor will run some tests to ascertain the root cause. Also, it would be helpful to reveal to your doctor if you are currently on any drugs or if you’ve taken any drug in the past. Tell your doctor about your medical history, including any changes you’ve made to your diet, exercise habits, and stress levels to help him or her establish a diagnosis and prescribe proper medications.


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