What are the Treatments for Amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is a medical condition in which a woman of reproductive age fails to menstruate. For a woman to menstruate normally, her hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries, uterus, cervix and vagina should function properly and have normal anatomy. Anything that hampers the functioning or this organs or parts of a female body can cause amenorrhea.
There are two types of amenorrhea
- Primary amenorrhea: When a girl has not had her first menstrual period (menarche) by age 16
- Secondary amenorrhea: When a woman who has experienced menstrual periods previously, but stops menstruating for more than three months
The treatment strategies used for curing amenorrhea depends upon its cause. In the case of primary amenorrhea caused due to delayed puberty, the doctor may suggest waiting as the girl would eventually attain menarche in constitutional delay. This is usually associated with family history of delayed menstruation.
Primary amenorrhea caused by genetic problems such as ovarian failure may require medications to balance the hormonal levels and enhance the pubic hair, breast development and other secondary sexual characteristics. Primary amenorrhea caused due to structural and congenital issues may need surgery. Surgery is useful in cases of structural defects like vaginal septum, imperforate hymen, cervical stenosis. In some cases of structural defects, like absence of the uterus, the treatment is directed at maintaining the oestrogen levels normal so as to allow for normal functioning of the body and not for resuming menstrual function. The reproductive options of women with absent uterus or ovarian failure needs to be discussed so as to make an informed decision about future family plans.
For secondary amenorrhea the following treatment methods can be used:
- Proper diet and exercise programs: If obesity is causing amenorrhea, then in such cases the doctor will ask the patient to reduce weight by adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
- Stress-management course: Extreme stress can cause secondary amenorrhea. Enrolling for a stress-management program can help the patient tackle stressful situation with much ease.
- Hormone balancing medications: Doctor may recommend pills to balance the hormones for normal cycles.
- Medication for PCOS symptoms: Patients with PCOS may not ovulate thus causing amenorrhea. The doctor may prescribe medications to trigger ovulation.
- Moderate workout programs: Doctor may ask the patient to notch down her workout routine as extremely strenuous activities can lead to low body fat and hormonal imbalances.
- Estrogen replacement therapy: This therapy replaces the estrogen hormone that should be otherwise produced naturally by the body. This helps in dealing with the symptoms of primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) or Fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI).
- Surgery: The surgical method for treating amenorrhea is rarely used. Tumors or cysts in the ovary, uterus or pituitary gland can also cause amenorrhea. In such cases, sometimes surgery may be required to remove the tumor. Also, if the uterine scarring is stopping the menstruation, then surgery to remove the scar tissues may bring back the normal menstruation.