What Is Amenorrhea?

Sometimes women don’t get their period, even though they have gone through puberty, aren’t pregnant, and aren’t experiencing menopause. This is called amenorrhea.

Although amenorrhea is not a disease and is typically not harmful, you should still talk to your doctor if you never get your period.

Primary and Secondary Amenorrhea

There are two types of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. Primary amenorrhea is when a young woman has not had her first period by 16. Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman who has otherwise had normal menstrual cycles, stops getting her period for three or more months.

What Are the Symptoms of Amenorrhea?

Besides not having a period before the age of 16 or not having a period for three months after having a regular menstrual cycle, you might experience these symptoms:

– Headaches
– Hair loss
– Acne
– Pelvic pain
– Changes in vision
– Excess facial hair
– Nipple discharge

What Causes Amenorrhea?

There are numerous things that can cause primary and secondary amenorrhea, including:

Natural amenorrhea

During your life, you may experience amenorrhea for natural reasons, including:

– Pregnancy
– Breastfeeding
– Menopause

Contraceptives

Amenorrhea may also be caused by taking certain birth controls. While some birth control helps women control their periods, other women may find their period stops. Even after stopping contraceptives, you may find it takes some time before your period becomes regular.

Medications

Certain medications may also cause amenorrhea. These include:

– Allergy medications
– Antidepressants
– Antipsychotics
– Blood pressure drugs
– Chemotherapy drugs

Lifestyle factors

Sometimes lifestyle factors can cause amenorrhea. Having an excessively low body weight, for example, can interrupt many hormonal functions in your body, potentially stopping ovulation. Women who have an eating disorder often stop having periods.

Excessive exercise may also contribute to amenorrhea. Women who participate in activities or sports that require rigorous training may find their menstrual cycle is interrupted. This is often due to having a low level of body fat and high energy expenditure.

Stress can even alter the function of your hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is an area of your brain that controls the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle.
Hormonal imbalances
Amenorrhea may sometimes be caused by a hormonal imbalance. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) for example causes high, sustained levels of hormones, which can affect your menstrual cycle.

Thyroid disorders, including both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, can interfere with your body’s normal regulation of menstruation.
Problems with the sexual organs
In some cases, problems with the actual sexual organs can contribute to amenorrhea. This includes conditions like uterine scarring, a lack of reproductive organs, and a structural abnormality within the vagina.

Does Amenorrhea Have Complications?

Amenorrhea typically does not cause any complications. Amenorrhea can, however, cause infertility in some women since if you don’t ovulate and have menstrual periods, you can’t become pregnant.

Osteoporosis is another potential complication of amenorrhea if your amenorrhea is caused by low levels of estrogen.

Contact OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch for More Information on Amenorrhea

At OB-GYN Women’s Centre, we offer resources for many common conditions. If you’re experiencing amenorrhea or any menstrual regulatory, we can help. Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians and practitioners. We look forward to seeing you!

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