Amenorrhea - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Amenorrhea is a condition in which you miss one menstrual period or complete loss of menstrual periods occurs. 


Primary amenorrhea is a condition in which the girl does not have periods until the age of 15. Mostly, it occurs due to abnormality of hormonal levels, but can also occur due to abnormality in the anatomy of the female reproductive system. 


Secondary amenorrhea is a condition in which the woman misses her three menstrual cycles in a row when she was having in the past. The most common cause of secondary amenorrhea is pregnancy. The treatment of amenorrhea depends on the underlying cause.  


Anatomy of the female internal reproductive organs


The female reproductive organs constitute the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina.

The ovaries are responsible for producing an egg (ovum) every month, and the uterus is responsible for bearing the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, connect the uterus with the ovaries giving a passage for the egg to come to the uterus. The uterus is connected to the vagina or birth canal-a muscular canal that is responsible for the reception of the penis during sexual intercourse and the provision of a passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina connects the uterus to the external reproductive organs.


Symptoms 


The characteristic symptom of amenorrhea is an absence of periods. The other sign and symptoms that can occur with it are;


  • Milky nipple discharge

  • Hair loss

  • Pelvic pain

  • Acne

  • Headache

  • Vision changes

  • Excess facial hair


Causes


There can be many causes of amenorrhea. It can either occur naturally or due to other reasons. Naturally, it can occur due to;


  • Pregnancy 

  • Breastfeeding 

  • Menopause 


Other reasons for amenorrhea can be;


Taking contraceptives and other medications like antipsychotics, cancer medications, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications.


Having low body weight that can occur due to conditions like anorexia or bulimia.

Doing a lot of physical activity. Women who perform strenuous exercises like ballet, tennis, and others find their menstrual cycle interrupted. 


Too much stress can affect the functioning of the hypothalamus- a part of the brain that controls hormone levels. Therefore, too much stress can cause you to miss periods. However, they may revive once the stress is relieved. 


Polycystic ovarian syndrome- polycystic refers to many cysts- that are small sacs filled with fluid. They are follicles. Each one of them contains an immature egg, which never matures to trigger ovulation. The lack of ovulation causes an imbalance of hormones, causing an alteration in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, LH, and FSH, which in turn makes it difficult to conceive. Also, it disrupts the length and flow of the menstrual cycle.


  • Thyroid gland disorders

  • Pituitary tumor

  • Premature menopause- one that begins before the age of 50



Complications 


Amenorrhea can cause the following complications;


  • Difficulty in conception 

  • Psychological issues

  • Osteoporosis- thinning of bones that occur due to low estrogen levels.

  • Cardiovascular problems like heart attack, disorders of the blood vessels and heart muscles

  • Pelvic pain 


Conclusion 


Amenorrhea is a loss of periods that can occur due to various reasons. The healthcare professionals treat the underlying cause that causes it. If left untreated, amenorrhea can cause complications and cause difficulty in conception. Therefore, if you have the same complaint, you should visit your doctor soon.


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