No Periods - What Causes Amenorrhea And How To Treat It?
The root of a woman’s reproductive lifespan is consistency of her menstrual cycle. Without the regular menstrual periods, a woman cannot ovulate adequately and hence, less chances of becoming pregnant. But some women even don’t experience menstrual periods till the mid of teenage. We will discuss the cause in following topic.
Amenorrhea refers to a medical condition in which a girl hasn’t experienced her first menstrual cycle till the age of 16. The condition also occurs if a woman has not had her menstrual periods for 3-6 months. Both these are classified into primary and secondary types. The secondary type is more common i.e. when a woman stops menstruating for 3-6 months.
What causes Amenorrhea or no periods?
Both the types of amenorrhea can occur due to several reasons. Some are natural while some others are side effect of medication that needs to be treated in order to get rid of.
- Natural causes - Natural causes are those changes which occur during the normal course of female reproductive life such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause. These reasons stop menstruation temporary except menopause in which period stops completely.
- Medications - Certain medications may interfere with the menstruation and cause them to stop temporarily. These medications include antipsychotics and antidepressants drugs. Some other drugs involved are cancer chemotherapy drugs and medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure.
- Contraceptives - Suddenly stopping oral contraceptives may cause amenorrhea. Also, contraceptives that are implanted or injected as well as some types of intrauterine devices can temporarily stop menstruation.
- Hormonal imbalance - Certain medical conditions such as PCOS, thyroid malfunction, pituitary tumor and premature menopause are linked to hormonal imbalance. If there is hormonal imbalance, it can elevate the chances of amenorrhea.
- Female anatomy or structure - In some women, problem in the physical structure in the reproductive organs might hinder regular menstrual periods. Abnormal structure of the vagina, lack of reproductive organs and uterine scarring are some of the defects that could lead to amenorrhea.
- Chromosomal or genetic disorder - Certain genetic disorders such as Sawyer syndrome and Turner syndrome can cause delayed menstruation in some women.
- Lifestyle factors - Low body weight, stress and rigorous exercise can affect menstruation cycle.
When you should see a doctor?
This problem should be addressed promptly. A teenage girl who hasn’t experienced her first period at least by the age of 16, should consult a doctor without delay. If you are 14 years or old and has not experienced signs of puberty, then you should check with the doctor. These signs include:
- Breast bud development (thelarche)
- Pubic hair development (pubarche)
- Onset of menstrual periods (menarche)
For menstruating teens and girls, if they have missed three consecutive periods, they should check with the doctor.
|What Girls need to know about Menstruation? |
Diagnosis - What you would expect when you meet the doctor?
First of all, the gynecologist will be asking you some questions followed by physical examination. Be frank and tell everything about your lifestyle and any other signs and symptoms you are experiencing.
If you are an expecting mother, the doctor will conduct a pregnancy test. If this is not the case, then she would need to derive more information through lab tests to determine the underlying cause of amenorrhea.
These tests include:
- Blood tests – Blood test will check hormone levels in your body. Prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, all are associated to menstruation. Testing these hormone levels will let your doctor determine or rule out the reason behind your absent periods.
- Ultrasound - The imaging test create detailed pictures of the inside of your body using high frequency sound waves. It allows your doctor to view various organs, such as the uterus and ovaries, and check for any abnormal growths.
- CT scan – This is another type of imaging test that create cross-sectional images of the body using computers and rotating X-ray machines. These images let your doctor to check for masses and tumors in your glands and organs.
Is Amenorrhea Treatable?
Treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of amenorrhea.
- In case of hormonal imbalance, the doctor would be prescribing medicines containing synthetic hormones. This would replace and restore the normal working of the hormones.
- In some cases, if tumour or some structural blockage is the reason behind amenorrhea, the doctor would remove that through surgery.
- You might be advised to do some lifestyle changes if you have low weight and following excessive exercise routine. She would chalk out some diet plan for you.
It would be difficult to correctly start the treatment if the underlying cause is not identified. Amenorrhea is a common medical problem and can be treated effectively. So if you are suffering from this condition, check with your gynecologist who specializes in disorders of women and get your period on track.