Amenorrhea is described as the absence of menstrual periods in a woman. This can be of two types namely Primary Amenorrhea and Secondary Amenorrhea. In the Primary type, there is an absence of menstrual periods in a girl by the age of 14 to 16. In Secondary, there is an absence of menstrual periods in a woman who has been menstruating earlier. This is considered in absence of a pregnancy, menopause, hormonal contraceptive or lactation.
This condition is not a disease but often a sign of some other condition which may not be serious. The main symptom of amenorrhea is the absence of periods. In Primary condition, one may not have menses by age 16 and in secondary; the woman may miss her periods for 3 months or more. The other symptoms depend on the cause of this condition. One may experience headaches, hirsutism, vision changes or nipple discharge also.
Amenorrhea may be caused by several factors related to menstruation. The changes in organs, hormones and glands which are involved in the process of menstruation can cause this condition. Some of the causes are as below:
Problem with the pituitary gland which produces the hormones involved in menstruation may lead to this.
Poorly developed reproductive organs can also be responsible for the above.
Problems with the ovaries which is the organ that holds the eggs.
Pregnancy causes secondary amenorrhea in women.
Certain birth control pills can cause this condition too.
Lactation or breast feeding is another cause.
Menopause is the stopping of the menstrual cycle in a woman.
Stress, anxiety and depression can also result in absence of periods.
Thyroid gland disorders, sudden weight gain or obesity.
Certain medications may cause this condition in women.
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome causes hormonal imbalances which may result in absence of menstrual periods.
Poor nutrition may be one of the causes of Amenorrhea.
A woman who has had total Hysterectomy surgery will also stop menstruating.
Women who practice excessive exercising and rigorous training sessions may find their menstrual cycle interrupted.
Structural abnormality of the vagina can obstruct the bleeding.
Certain tests and examinations like blood tests, pregnancy test, physical examination, pelvic examination, imaging tests and laparoscopy can detect the cause of amenorrhea. The treatment depends on the cause of the condition. Treatment can be done to achieve relief from the symptoms. In cases of abnormalities and genetic disorders, surgery may have to be performed to correct the condition. Hormone therapy like oral contraceptive pills may be advised for women with premature ovarian failure and those who do not desire to get pregnant.
In the case of PCOS being the cause of amenorrhea, the treatment may be to reduce the levels of the male hormone androgen. If elevated prolactin levels are the reason, medications may be given to reduce the levels. Women who are suffering from this condition and wish to get pregnant may receive treatment of assisted reproductive technologies and administration of gonadotropin medications. Many herbal therapies are also available for the treatment of amenorrhea. These should be taken under supervision.
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