What is Amenorrhea?

What is Amenorrhea?

The absence of menstruation is termed as Amenorrhea. Any disruption in the normal functioning and synchronization of the hormonal gland can cause this condition in women. Women do not get their periods either during pregnancy, breastfeeding or post-menopause. Apart from these reasons, if still, a women’s menstruations are absent, then she may have amenorrhea.

Let us know what’s amenorrhea and the causes.

Types of Amenorrhea

There are two types of Amenorrhea:

  • Primary Amenorrhea: Primary amenorrhoea is defined as an absence of secondary sexual characteristics by age 14 with no menarche(first period) or normal secondary sexual characteristics but no menarche by 16 years of age.
  • Secondary Amenorrhea: In women who have menstruated previously, no menses for an interval of time equivalent to a total of atleast 3 previous cycles, or 6 months.

Causes of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhoea is a symptom with various potential causes which need to be identified and treated

There are many causes that can lead to Amenorrhea and it differs with the types of Amenorrhea as well:

Causes that lead to primary amenorrhea are:

  • Constitutional delay - Family history of delayed menstruation is noted
  • Hereditary
  • Genetic disorders like Turner’s Syndrome
  • Congenital defects - Mullerian defects, etc.

Causes that lead to secondary amenorrhea are:

Physiological(Natural) Causes

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding(Lactational amenorrhoea)
  • Menopause

Pathological Causes

  • Using certain birth control methods like Depo-Provera etc.
  • Stopping the use of birth control
  • Stress and depression
  • Low body mass index
  • Stringent exercise
  • Certain psychiatric drugs
  • Long-term illness
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Asherman’s syndrome
  • Pituitary tumours - prolactin secreting tumors

Symptoms of Amenorrhea

Below given are the common symptoms of Amenorrhea:

  • Absence of menstruation
  • Lack of breast development
  • Facial hairs
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Galactorrhea or milky discharge from nipples

Diagnosis of Amenorrhea

Following are the ways by which amenorrhea can be diagnosed:

  • A brief medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests to check the hormone levels
  • Ultrasound to check the pelvic region for anatomical abnormalities
  • X-rays to check for bone fractures

Treatment of Amenorrhea

The treatment strategies used for this condition depends upon its cause. Below given are some of the ways used to treat amenorrhea:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Proper diet
  • Moderate exercise regime
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Drug therapy
  • Surgery in case of reproductive problems or defects