Amenorrhea: The absence of natural phenomena in women

What is amenorrhea?

The absence of menstrual cycle in women is known as amenorrhea. Women who haven’t had three periods in a row suffer from amenorrhea. The girls who haven’t got their first period till the age of 15 also suffers from amenorrhea. Amenorrhea may have several underlying causes, most common being pregnancy and menopause. However, it can also be caused due to some issues with the reproductive organs of women. The treatment of amenorrhea is done based on its underlying cause.

Amenorrhea causes

Following are the various causes of amenorrhea:

  • Contraceptives: Women who take birth control pills may suffer from amenorrhea due to a sudden change in their ovulation cycle. It usually takes some time for the pills to get back to the normal cycle.
  • Lifestyle causes: Lifestyle causes include lower body weight, stress, and excessive exercise. Rigorous activities, stress, and body weight over 10 percent lower than normal can lead to drastic hormonal changes which may result in amenorrhea.
  • Drug-induced: Several medications like antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, chemotherapy, and antipsychotics can make the menstrual periods stop for a while.
  • Hormonal imbalance: Medical conditions that are caused due to hormonal imbalance may lead to amenorrhea. For example, conditions like Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid, and the pituitary tumour can cause amenorrhea.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy is one of the most common causes of amenorrhea. Apart from this, women also have amenorrhea during the time they are breastfeeding. Menopause is also one of the causes of the same.
  • Physical: Many physical conditions in the body like uterine scarring, structural abnormality of the vagina are causes of amenorrhea. Lack of reproductive organs is also one of the causes of amenorrhea.

Reasons for amenorrhea

Amenorrhea can be caused by various reasons. Sudden loss of weight, and eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, could be the reasons behind one’s amenorrhea. The problem is also genetic, for example, if someone in the family has experienced amenorrhea, it is very likely that you will too. Apart from this, stress and excessive physical activities may also lead to amenorrhea.

Symptoms of amenorrhea

The primary symptom of amenorrhea is missing your menstrual period. The following symptoms can also be identified depending on the underlying cause of the same:

  • Headache
  • Excess facial hair
  • Milky discharge from the nipples
  • Hair loss
  • Vision changes
  • Acne
  • Pelvic pain
  • Lack of breast development

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Amenorrhea and pregnancy

Missing one’s periods is usually associated with pregnancy. However, the condition can be stated as amenorrhea post diagnosis as well. Amenorrhea can affect one’s fertility as it changes the hormonal levels in one’s body. However, it can be recovered from with the help of a few medications. Pregnant women often experience amenorrhea due to the sudden change in hormonal levels. This condition is known as the natural form of amenorrhea which goes away on its own and doesn’t need to be treated.

Amenorrhea treatment

The treatment of amenorrhea depends on its underlying cause. For example, hormone therapies and contraceptive pills can treat amenorrhea in some cases, and the same may prove futile in the other. Hence, it is crucial to determine the underlying cause of the condition to treat it well.

Amenorrhea caused due to excessive exercising is treated by monitoring one’s diet regime and reducing the intensity of their exercise. In the case of low body weight and anorexia, some sessions with mental health counsellor along with a dietician are advised. Furthermore, stress related amenorrhea deals with regulating the neuronal activity with the help of certain medication that’ll also regulate the hormonal levels.

Apart from this, amenorrhea due to structural issues like a blockage or tumour can be treated with surgery whereas the one caused by thyroid or pituitary disorders is treated with the help of medication.

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