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Amenorrhea (absence of periods)

Amenorrhea is the absence of periods (menstrual bleeding) for more than 6 months. Absence of periods during 2-6 months called oligomenorrhea. Amenorrhea could be primary or secondary.

Primary amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual bleeding and secondary sexual characteristics (for example, breast development and pubic hair) in a girl by age 14 years or the absence of menstrual bleeding with normal development of secondary sexual characteristics in a girl by age 16-17 years.

Secondary amenorrhea is the absence of periods in girls and women who had been menstruating but later stop menstruating for 6 or more months in the absence of pregnancy, menopause, hormonal treatment and/or hormonal contraception.

About amenorrhea

Amenorrhea – Anorexia

For a woman to have regular menstrual cycles, her hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries, and uterus should all be functioning normally. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH and LH cause the ovaries to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the cyclical changes in the endometrium (uterine lining), including menstruation (period). In addition, a woman’s genital tract should be free of any abnormalities to allow the passage of menstrual blood.

Amenorrhea Causes

Amenorrhea can result because of an abnormality in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis which could be functional or anatomical.

Main functional causes of amenorrhea:

  • Stress;
  • Anorexia and/or bulimia;
  • Chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes, tuberculosis);
  • Excessive weight gain or weight loss;
  • Malnutrition;
  • Psychiatric disorders and/or depression;
  • Drug addiction and/or drug abuse;
  • Very intensive physical exercises (for example, Olympic competitions);
  • Cycle suppression (for example with hormonal birth control pills).

Main ovarian causes:

Amenorrhea

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (hormonal disorder, high blood levels of male hormones);
  • Anovulation (lack of hormones and absence of ovulation);
  • Premature ovarian failure;
  • Turner Syndrome (a genetic disorder characterized by underdeveloped ovaries);
  • Gonadal dysgenesis (defective development of the ovary);
  • Anatomical abnormalities of the genital tract;
  • Intrauterine adhesions (the opposing surfaces of the uterine cavity stick together);
  • Aplasia (absence of an organ or tissue) of the vagina, the cervix, or the uterus;
  • Autoimmune oophoritis (cells of the ovaries destroyed by the body’s own defense system).

Main pituitary causes:

  • Prolactinemia (high blood levels of prolactin);
  • Pituitary tumors;
  • Post-delivery pituitary necrosis (death of pituitary cells after a woman delivers a baby);
  • Autoimmune hypophysitis (cells of the pituitary gland destroyed by the body’s own defense system).

Main hypothalamic causes:

  • Low body weight;
  • Nutritional deficiency;
  • Tumors;
  • Kallmann syndrome (deficiency of gonadotropins, which are hormones capable of promoting growth and function of reproductive organs)

Additional symptoms

  • Additional symptoms may be present depending on the causes of amenorrhea. But in general the following additional symptoms could be discovered:
  • Headache;
  • Galactorrhea (breasts milk production in a woman who is not pregnant and not breastfeeding);
  • Reduced peripheral vision;
  • Increased hair growth in unexpected places (hirsutism);
  • Vaginal dryness;
  • Hot flashes and/or night sweats and/or sleep disorders;
  • Obesity and/or weight gain or weight loss.

What to do?

Immediately visit your doctor for proper analysis and adequate complex treatment.

You can discover Natural Remedies for Amenorrhea on next page.


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