Amenorrhea is a medical term that describes the absence of menstruation in women. of childbearing age. When menstruation does not occur, then it is called primary or secondary amenorrhea. It can be caused by many factors, ranging from physiological reasons such as pregnancy and menopause, to medical causes such as hormonal issues and thyroid disorders.
This absence of periods can have several causes and different consequences on women's health. The absence of periods can be abnormal and require a medical consultation if it is accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain, abnormal bleeding or significant changes in weight. If you suffer from amenorrhea, it is essential to know this information and the good practices to adopt for your health.
What is amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is a condition characterized by the absence of periods for at least three consecutive months. This absence may be due to various factors such as stress, hormonal changes related to puberty or menopause, certain diseases or even certain drug treatments.
Periods are actually the end product of the menstrual cycle. This cycle is governed by different hormones and begins to appear between the ages of 8 and 16 in most women. Hormonal changes occur every month, which causes a follicle to mature in the ovaries and leads to ovulation, that is to say the release of an egg which will migrate to the uterus if no sperm are present.
In the event of non-fertilization, the uterus contracts and eliminates the endometrial tissue accumulated during the follicular phase, which causes the expulsion of blood tissue and triggers menstruation.
The different types of amenorrhea
Depending on its cause, amenorrhea is divided into two main types: primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea.
- Primary amenorrhea : Primary amenorrhea refers to the absence of periods in a girl who has never had her period at the age when it would normally occur (usually between 11 and 14 years old). Causes can include genetic disorders, hormonal issues, or genital defects. It is often the result of a lack of development of the reproductive organs or the blockage of the hormonal system.
- Secondary amenorrhea : It is characterized by absence of periods in a woman who has had her period before, but has not had it for at least three months. It is caused by hormonal disorders, a significant increase in stress or by diseases such as endometriosis.
What are the symptoms of missed periods?
Besides missed periods, symptoms associated with amenorrhea may include:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- A sleep disorder
- Abdominal pain
- Turnkey vaginal discharge unusual
- A decrease in sexual desire
Although all the symptoms mentioned above can indicate amenorrhea, it can actually be other medical conditions, such as hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, chronic diseases such as diabetes, gynecological diseases such as endometriosis and ovarian tumors or hormonal contraceptives.
What are the causes and risk factors for missed periods?
Several underlying factors can contribute to amenorrhea. The most common causes and risk factors are:
- Hormonal changes related to puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
- Chronic stress.
- Malnutrition or obesity.
- Certain medications, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, or oral contraceptives.
- Certain diseases, such as hypothyroidism or endometriosis.
- Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
- Hormonal disorders, including excessive or insufficient production of estrogen.
- Intensive practice of sport or overwork.
What type of contraception can cause a missed period?
Several types of birth control can cause amenorrhea, or the absence of periods, including:
La hormonal birth control: Most hormonal birth control methods, such as birth control pills, vaginal rings, transdermal patches, and contraceptive implants, can regulate hormone levels and cause missed periods.
La female sterilization: Tubal ligation, a permanent method of birth control, can cause amenorrhea because it prevents eggs from reaching the uterus.
Un intrauterine device (IUD): Some types of IUDs contain hormones that can regulate hormone levels and cause missed periods.
Depending on the individual, amenorrhea can be temporary or permanent.
What are the treatments for amenorrhea?
When you suspect amenorrhea, it is best to consult a healthcare professional. The diagnosis will be based on medical history and a physical exam. The doctor may also order other tests, such as blood and urine tests, pelvic ultrasound, or pelvic MRI. Depending on the results, he can prescribe an appropriate treatment.
Drug treatment may include birth control pills to regulate hormone levels and relieve associated symptoms. For women with eating disorders, nutritional support and psychotherapy can help restore hormonal balance.
How to prevent the absence of periods?
To prevent amenorrhea, it is recommended to:
Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly: it can help maintain a healthy weight and regulate hormone levels.
Reduce your stress level: Stress can disrupt hormone levels and cause menstrual disruption. It is therefore important to manage stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga.
Limit the consumption of chemicals and processed foods: Consuming chemicals and processed foods can disrupt hormone levels and cause menstrual disruption.
Avoid excessive physical activity or exertion: Exercise is important for health, but excessive physical activity or overexertion can cause hormonal disruptions
By adopting good lifestyle habits and immediately reporting any suspicious symptoms, you will significantly reduce the risk of suffering from amenorrhea.