One of the most common questions asked by women with menstrual problems is “why do I stop having my period?”.
Many women are not aware of the different types of amenorrhea that exist and how they can be treated. This blog aims to provide you with useful information about the different types of amenorrhea, the symptoms, causes, and possible treatment options.
Did you know 1% of women in the United States suffer from Amenorrhea? (Source: NLM)
What is Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea (uh-men-o-REE-uh) is the absence of menstruation – one or more missed menstrual periods.
In other words, it is a condition in which a woman does not experience a period during the time in which she is supposed to. Often, a girl will go through puberty and start her periods without any complications, but then suddenly stop having them entirely.
This can be quite confusing because it means that her body is no longer producing the hormones needed to regulate menstruation.
Types of Amenorrhea
There are different types of Amenorrhea. Let’s check out the important ones!
Primary amenorrhea is when a girl has not started having periods by the time she turns 16 or by the late teens, depending on whether puberty has occurred. Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman who has been menstruating regularly stops her period for at least three months and is not pregnant or breastfeeding.
Primary amenorrhea may be caused by:
- Chromosomal abnormalities (including Turner syndrome)
- Uterine abnormalities, such as an absent uterus or underdeveloped uterus
- Absent or underdeveloped vagina (vaginal agenesis)
- Certain genetic disorders, including Swyer syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and premature ovarian failure
It’s a condition where a woman has stopped menstruating for at least three consecutive months without being pregnant or breastfeeding, and there are no other medical conditions or medications that could account for it.
It can affect any woman who has had a period in the past, though it most commonly occurs in women under 20 years old who haven’t yet started menstruating or after menopause when menstruation ceases permanently.
Another important thing to know is that while primary amenorrhea refers to women who have never had a period, secondary amenorrhea refers to those who have already started having periods at some point in their lives. This is one of the biggest things that can confuse others when trying to explain why you aren’t getting your period.
Post-pill amenorrhea is a condition that occurs when a woman stops menstruating for at least three months after discontinuing the use of oral contraceptive pills.
Post-pill amenorrhea is a very common condition, especially among women who have used birth control pills for long periods of time. Most women experience a return to normal menstrual cycles within six months after stopping the pill, but for some women, it can take much longer.
Many women find that their periods return on their own over time, but some may need to seek additional treatment to help regulate their menstrual cycle and restore ovulation.
It’s a syndrome that can be caused by stress, and it prevents the release of certain hormones needed to keep your period going. It messes with your brain so that your body doesn’t know how to menstruate.
So now you’re thinking, “Okay… what causes it?”
Well, there are two primary causes: stress and exercise.
Stress is the body’s response to danger; if you’re running from a tiger while you’re on your period and you get hurt, the stress of the situation might make your body stop ovulating – which means no more periods.
Exercise can also be stressful on the body. Your body might not think that it can support a child right now – especially if you’re exercising too much or not eating enough food – so it stops ovulating to protect itself.
Pregnancy-related Amenorrhea (also known as PRA, not to be confused with postpartum depression) is the temporary cessation of menstrual cycles during pregnancy.
During this time, many women experience dramatic changes in their bodies, including weight gain and breast tenderness. These changes can affect a woman’s body image and overall outlook on life.
Amenorrhea Causes and Symptoms
When asked, “What are the main causes of Amenorrhea?” many people would answer: stress, exercising strenuously, eating too much, eating too little, being overweight, and so on.
Stress indeed is one of the factors that may lead to this condition. It’s important to know the symptoms of stress and its consequences on your body to avoid it. Some of the common symptoms are as follows:
– Feeling tired all the time
– Having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep at night
– Having trouble concentrating
– Being unhappy for no apparent reason
Treating amenorrhea is often about re-balancing your body, but first, it’s necessary to determine the underlying cause behind your periods’ absence. Another important factor to consider is how long you’ve gone without a period. If you’re less than a year late, it’s still possible to get pregnant and it’s best to see a doctor immediately.
If you’re over a year late, pregnancy isn’t probable but if you’re under 18, tell your parents and start researching infertility treatments as soon as possible.
When you visit the doctor for an exam and blood test, they’ll be able to determine the underlying cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Common causes include hormone imbalances (including thyroid issues), stress, or even just not eating enough calories. The treatment can range from adding in more calories to the point of gaining weight or could just be coming off of birth control or switching to another form with less hormones.
Treatment will vary depending on your unique case – after all, even though we all live in the same bodies, there’s still plenty of diversity in our health situations.
Amenorrhea can be caused by many different issues ranging from endocrine disorders, medications, and even menopause. In some cases, amenorrhea may be as simple as a side effect of oral contraceptives that can otherwise be easily treated by changing their dose or switching to a different type.
Women interested in understanding the types, symptoms, and causes of amenorrhea should not have to navigate countless lists and pages on the subject.
Instead, there should be an easy resource to get the answer they seek for the cause of their amenorrhea. We are hoping that this article will serve as a resource for women who may need diagnosis or treatment for their irregular periods, lack of periods, and lack of ovulation.