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Amenorrhea: Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Causes and Treatment

What is Amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation defined as one or more menstrual periods. This condition can be temporary or permanent as a result of a change in function or a problem in some part of the female reproductive system. However, it is normal not to have menstruation if you are pregnant, in the menopausal period, or before puberty.

The Two Types of Amenorrhea

  1. Primary type. It refers to the absence or menstruation in someone who has not had a period when reaching the age of 15. The typical cause of this condition is linked to hormone levels. 
  2. Secondary type. It refers to the absence of three or more periods in a row by someone who already has/had a period in the past. One common cause of this condition is pregnancy. Hormonal problems can also cause some cases of missed periods.

Signs and Symptoms of Amenorrhea

High Prolactin Levels

The signs and symptoms of this condition depend on the cause and other factors. These includes:

Seek medical help if you missed at least three menstrual periods in a row or you never have a period and your age is 15.

What are the Risk Factors of Amenorrhea?

  1. Family history. This condition can be inherited however, not all women who have a family history can inherit this condition. 
  2. Eating disorders. Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorder can increase your risk of developing this condition.
  3. Athletic training. Rigorous physical activities may delay your menstruation or increase your risk of developing this condition.
  4. A history of any gynecologic procedures. Women who experience loop electrodiathermy excision procedures put you are at a higher risk of missed periods.
Medications Used For Kidney Infection

What are the Causes of Amenorrhea?

Some causes of this condition are due to medications and some occur due to natural causes such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause. Other causes of this condition include:

  • Contraceptives. Oral contraceptives may cause missed periods. For some women, it will take some time for them to ovulate and have regular menstruation after stopping birth control pills. Injectable contraceptives may also cause this condition.
  • Medications. Antipsychotics, cancer chemotherapy, and blood pressure drugs can stop menstruation or affect your menstrual cycle. Discuss with your doctor the management of the causes of missed periods.
  • Hormonal imbalance. PCOS, thyroid malfunction, pituitary tumor, and premature menopause can cause hormonal imbalance that leads to temporary or secondary conditions.
  • Stress. It can interfere with the function of your hypothalamus where hormones for the menstrual cycle are regulated. As a result, it may stop ovulation and menstruation.
  • Low body weight. Excessively low body weight may halt ovulation. Women who have ED such as bulimia are often at risk of developing this condition.

Treatment, Management, and Prevention of Amenorrhea

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition. In some cases, birth control pills or other hormone therapies can restart your menstrual cycles. If it is caused by thyroid or pituitary disorders, it may be treated with medications. If a tumor or structural blockage is causing the problem, surgery may be necessary.

Medication Used for Amenorrhea

Progesterone. It is given to women who have secondary amenorrhea. It helps properly regulate the menstrual cycle and treat unusual stopping of the menstrual periods by causing changes in the uterus.

Home Remedies and prevention of Amenorrhea

  • Maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet
  • Get a regular gynecological appointments and necessary tests to track your condition
  • Some lifestyle factors can cause amenorrhea, so strive for balance in work, recreation, and rest.
  • Assess areas of stress and conflict in your life to manage your stress levels and prevent this condition.
  • Be aware of changes in your menstrual cycle and check with your doctor if you have concerns.
  • Keep a record of when your periods occur and take note of the date when your period starts, how long it lasts and any troublesome symptoms you experience.

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