Symptoms, causes, treatment of amenorrhea

DEFINITION

Amenorrhea

(uh-men-o-REE-uh) is the absence of menstruation — one or more missed menstrual periods. Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row have amenorrhea, as do girls who haven’t begun menstruation by age 15.

The most common cause of amenorrhea is pregnancy. Other causes of amenorrhea include problems with the reproductive organs or with the glands that help regulate hormone levels. Treatment of the underlying condition often resolves amenorrhea.

SYMPTOMS

The main sign of amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual periods. Depending on the cause of amenorrhea, you might experience other signs or symptoms along with the absence of periods, such as:

  • Milky nipple discharge
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Vision changes
  • Excess facial hair
  • Pelvic pain
  • CAUSES

    Amenorrhea can occur for a variety of reasons. Some are normal during the course of a woman’s life, while others may be a side effect of medication or a sign of a medical problem.

    Natural amenorrhea

    During the normal course of your life, you may experience amenorrhea for natural reasons, such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast-feeding
  • Menopause

  • Contraceptives
  • Some women who take birth control pills may not have periods. Even after stopping oral contraceptives, it may take some time before regular ovulation and menstruation return. Contraceptives that are injected or implanted also may cause amenorrhea, as can some types of intrauterine devices.

    Medications

    Certain medications can cause menstrual periods to stop, including some types of:

  • Antipsychotics
  • Cancer chemotherapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Blood pressure drugs
  • Allergy medications
  • Lifestyle factors

    Sometimes lifestyle factors contribute to amenorrhea, for instance:

  • Low body weight.

     Excessively low body weight — about 10 percent under normal weight — interrupts many hormonal functions in your body, potentially halting ovulation. Women who have an eating disorder, such as Anorexia or Bulimia, often stop having periods because of these abnormal hormonal changes.

  • Excessive exercise. 

    Women who participate in activities that require rigorous training, such as ballet, may find their menstrual cycles interrupted. Several factors combine to contribute to the loss of periods in athletes, including low body fat, stress and high energy expenditure.

  • Stress.

     Mental stress can temporarily alter the functioning of your hypothalamus — an area of your brain that controls the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. Ovulation and menstruation may stop as a result. Regular menstrual periods usually resume after your stress decreases.

  • Structural problems

    Problems with the sexual organs themselves also can cause amenorrhea. Examples include:

  • Uterine scarring.

     Asherman’s syndrome, a condition in which scar tissue builds up in the lining of the uterus, can sometimes occur after a dilation and curettage (D&C), cesarean section or treatment for Uterine fibroids. Uterine scarring prevents the normal buildup and shedding of the uterine lining.

  • Lack of reproductive organs.

     Sometimes problems arise during fetal development that lead to a girl being born without some major part of her reproductive system, such as her uterus, cervix or vagina. Because her reproductive system didn’t develop normally, she can’t have menstrual cycles.

  • Structural abnormality of the vagina.

     An obstruction of the vagina may prevent visible menstrual bleeding. A membrane or wall may be present in the vagina that blocks the outflow of blood from the uterus and cervix.

  • RISK FACTORS

    Factors that may increase your risk of amenorrhea may include:

  • Family history. 

    If other women in your family have experienced amenorrhea, you may have inherited a predisposition for the problem.

  • Eating disorders. 

    If you have an eating disorder, such as Anorexia or Bulimia, you are at higher risk of developing amenorrhea.

  • Athletic training.

     Rigorous athletic training can increase your risk of amenorrhea.

  • COMPLICATIONS

    Complications of amenorrhea may include:

  • Infertility. 

    If you don’t ovulate and have menstrual periods, you can’t become pregnant.

  • Osteoporosis. 

    If your amenorrhea is caused by low estrogen levels, you may also be at risk of Osteoporosis — a weakening of your bones.

  • TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

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

    LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

    Some lifestyle factors — such as too much exercise or too little food — can cause amenorrhea, so strive for balance in work, recreation and rest. Assess areas of stress and conflict in your life. If you can’t decrease stress on your own, ask for help from family, friends or your doctor.

    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. Note the date your period starts, how long it lasts and any troublesome symptoms you experience.

    About Nursefaith 44 Articles
    Hello____ my name is faith,and a nurse by profession loves taking care of people especially your health. I am here whenever you need me,for everyday care or life-changing care,you can count on me to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

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