Home Health A – ZA What Is Amenorrhea? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Blood Test, Best Treatment, and Counteraction

What Is Amenorrhea? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Blood Test, Best Treatment, and Counteraction

by @dmin@
What Is Amenorrhea? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Blood Test, Best Treatment, and Counteraction

Introduction

Amenorrhea is a condition in which a woman does not have menstrual periods for at least three months in a row, or has not started menstruating by the age of 15. Amenorrhea can have various causes, such as hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, breastfeeding, stress, eating disorders, or certain medications.

Menstrual health is an important aspect of women’s health, as it reflects the functioning of the reproductive system and the overall well-being of the body. Menstrual cycles can provide clues about the presence of underlying health issues, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, or endometriosis. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor if you experience amenorrhea or any other abnormal changes in your menstrual cycle.

Amenorrhea: What You Need to Know

Symptoms of Amenorrhea

The main symptom of amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual periods for at least three months in a row, or the failure to start menstruating by the age of 15. However, amenorrhea can also be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause of the condition. Some of the common symptoms associated with amenorrhea are:

  • Changes in menstrual cycle: You may notice that your periods become irregular, lighter, heavier, shorter, or longer than usual before they stop completely. This can indicate a problem with your hormones, ovaries, uterus, or pituitary gland.
  • Hair growth: You may develop excessive hair growth on your face, chest, abdomen, or back, a condition known as hirsutism. This can be a sign of PCOS, a hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries and causes irregular periods, acne, and infertility.
  • Weight changes: You may experience weight gain or weight loss, depending on the cause of your amenorrhea. For example, being overweight or underweight can affect your hormone levels and interfere with your ovulation. Likewise, eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia can also interfere with your menstrual cycle and result in amenorrhea.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to diagnose the cause of your amenorrhea and receive appropriate treatment. Amenorrhea can have serious consequences for your health, such as osteoporosis, infertility, heart disease, or diabetes. Therefore, it is important to take care of your menstrual health and seek medical help if you notice any abnormal changes in your periods.

Causes of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea can have different causes, depending on whether it is primary or secondary. Primary amenorrhea is when a girl has not started menstruating by the age of 15, while secondary amenorrhea is when a woman who has had regular periods stops having them for at least three months. Some of the common causes of amenorrhea are:

  • Pregnancy: This is the most obvious and natural cause of amenorrhea. When a woman is pregnant, her body produces high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that prevents ovulation and menstruation. Therefore, missing a period can be a sign of pregnancy, and a pregnancy test can confirm or rule out this possibility.
  • Hormonal imbalances: The menstrual cycle is regulated by a complex interaction of hormones, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and progesterone. Any disruption in the production or function of these hormones can cause amenorrhea. Some of the conditions that can affect the hormonal balance are:
    • Hypothalamic amenorrhea: This occurs when the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls the release of hormones from the pituitary gland, stops sending signals to the ovaries. This can be caused by stress, weight loss, excessive exercise, or illness.
    • Pituitary amenorrhea: This occurs when the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain that produces FSH and LH, fails to secrete enough of these hormones or secretes too much of another hormone called prolactin. This can be caused by tumors, infections, injuries, or medications.
    • Ovarian amenorrhea: This occurs when the ovaries fail to produce enough estrogen or progesterone or stop releasing eggs. This can be caused by premature ovarian failure, menopause, or PCOS.
  • Structural issues: Sometimes, amenorrhea can be caused by problems with the structure or function of the reproductive organs, such as the uterus, cervix, or vagina. Some of the conditions that can cause structural issues are:
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This is a common hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries and causes irregular periods, acne, hirsutism, and infertility. Women with PCOS have multiple small cysts on their ovaries, which interfere with the normal ovulation process.
    • Uterine abnormalities: These are defects or malformations of the uterus, such as a bicornuate uterus, a septate uterus, or a unicornuate uterus. These can affect the implantation of the fertilized egg or the development of the placenta, leading to amenorrhea or miscarriage.
    • Asherman’s syndrome: This is a condition in which scar tissue forms inside the uterus, blocking the menstrual flow or preventing the implantation of the fertilized egg. This can be caused by infections, surgeries, or abortions.
  • Stress and lifestyle factors: Amenorrhea can also be influenced by psychological and environmental factors, such as stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obesity, smoking, alcohol, or drug abuse. These factors can affect the hormonal balance, the ovulation process, or the blood supply to the reproductive organs, resulting in amenorrhea.

Diagnosis of Amenorrhea

If you have amenorrhea, you should see a doctor to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment. The diagnosis of amenorrhea involves the following steps:

  • Medical history: The doctor will ask you about your personal and family history, your menstrual cycle, your sexual activity, your contraceptive use, your symptoms, your medications, and your lifestyle habits. This will help the doctor to identify any potential risk factors or underlying conditions that may cause amenorrhea.
  • Physical examination: The doctor will perform a physical examination to check your general health, your weight, your height, your body mass index (BMI), your blood pressure, your pulse, your temperature, and your thyroid gland. The doctor will also examine your breasts, your abdomen, your pelvis, and your genitals to look for any signs of pregnancy, infection, inflammation, or abnormality.
  • Hormone level testing: The doctor will order blood tests to measure the levels of various hormones, such as FSH, LH, estradiol, thyroid hormones, prolactin, hCG, and testosterone. These tests will help the doctor to assess the functioning of your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries, thyroid gland, and adrenal glands, and to rule out or confirm pregnancy.
  • Imaging studies: The doctor may also order imaging studies, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan, to visualize your reproductive organs and to look for any structural issues, such as cysts, fibroids, polyps, or tumors.

Blood Test for Amenorrhea

A blood test is one of the most important diagnostic tools for amenorrhea, as it can provide valuable information about the hormonal status and the pregnancy status of the woman. A blood test for amenorrhea may include the following:

  • Hormone levels: The blood test will measure the levels of FSH, LH, estradiol, thyroid hormones, prolactin, and testosterone. These hormones are involved in the regulation of the menstrual cycle and the ovulation process, and their levels can indicate the cause of amenorrhea. For example, high levels of FSH and low levels of estradiol can suggest ovarian failure or menopause, while high levels of prolactin and low levels of FSH and LH can suggest pituitary adenoma or hyperprolactinemia. Low levels of thyroid hormones can suggest hypothyroidism, while high levels of testosterone can suggest PCOS or adrenal hyperplasia.
  • Pregnancy test: The blood test will also measure the level of hCG, a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy. A positive pregnancy test can confirm that amenorrhea is due to pregnancy, while a negative pregnancy test can rule out this possibility.
  • Other relevant blood markers: The blood test may also measure other blood markers that are relevant to the diagnosis of amenorrhea, such as blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes, kidney function, blood count, and iron levels. These markers can help the doctor to evaluate the overall health of the woman and to detect any complications or comorbidities that may be associated with amenorrhea, such as diabetes, dyslipidemia, liver disease, kidney disease, anemia, or infection.

Best Treatment Approaches

The treatment of amenorrhea depends on the cause, the severity, and the personal preferences of the woman. The main goals of treatment are to restore the normal menstrual cycle, to prevent or treat any complications, and to address any fertility issues. Some of the best treatment approaches for amenorrhea are:

  • Hormone therapy: This involves taking medications that contain synthetic hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, or a combination of both, to regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent bone loss. Hormone therapy can be administered in various forms, such as pills, patches, injections, or implants. Hormone therapy can also help to treat some of the underlying conditions that cause amenorrhea, such as PCOS, hypothyroidism, or hyperprolactinemia.
  • Lifestyle changes: This involves making some adjustments to your diet, exercise, stress management, and weight control, to improve your hormonal balance and your overall health. Lifestyle changes can help to treat amenorrhea caused by stress, weight loss, weight gain, or eating disorders. Some of the lifestyle changes that can help with amenorrhea are:
    • Eating a balanced and nutritious diet that provides enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin D.
    • Exercising moderately and regularly, but avoiding excessive or strenuous exercise that can disrupt your ovulation.
    • Controlling your stress levels through the use of relaxation methods like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.
    • Maintaining a healthy weight that is appropriate for your height and age, and avoiding rapid weight changes that can affect your hormone levels.
  • Surgical interventions: This involves performing surgery to correct any structural issues that cause amenorrhea, such as uterine abnormalities, scar tissue, or tumors. Surgical interventions can help to restore the normal function and shape of the reproductive organs and to improve the chances of pregnancy. Surgical interventions can be done using various techniques, such as laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, or hysterectomy, depending on the type and location of the problem.
  • Fertility treatments: This involves using medications or procedures that can help you to conceive if you have amenorrhea and want to become pregnant. Fertility treatments can help to stimulate your ovulation, enhance your egg quality, or facilitate the implantation of the fertilized egg. Fertility treatments can include the following options:
    • Ovulation induction: This involves taking medications, such as clomiphene citrate or gonadotropins, that can stimulate your ovaries to produce and release eggs.
    • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This involves placing the sperm directly into your uterus at the time of ovulation, to increase the chances of fertilization.
    • In vitro fertilization (IVF): This involves retrieving your eggs from your ovaries, fertilizing them with the sperm in a laboratory, and transferring the resulting embryos into your uterus, to achieve pregnancy.

Prevention Strategies

Although amenorrhea can have different causes that may not be preventable, there are some strategies that can help you to reduce the risk of developing amenorrhea or to prevent it from worsening. Some of the prevention strategies for amenorrhea are:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: This involves eating a balanced and nutritious diet that provides enough calories, protein, iron, calcium, and vitamin D, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, or drug abuse. A healthy lifestyle can help you maintain a normal hormonal balance and prevent nutritional deficiencies or toxic effects that can affect your menstrual cycle.
  • Managing stress: This involves practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises, and seeking professional help if you have any mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. Managing stress can help you reduce the impact of psychological and emotional factors that can disrupt your hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis and cause amenorrhea.
  • Regular exercise: This involves exercising moderately and regularly, but avoiding excessive or strenuous exercise that can interfere with your ovulation or cause amenorrhea due to low body fat. Regular exercise can help you to improve your blood circulation, your muscle tone, your bone density, and your overall health, as well as to regulate your weight and your hormones.
  • Seeking prompt medical attention for irregularities: This involves consulting a doctor as soon as possible if you experience amenorrhea or any other abnormal changes in your menstrual cycle, such as irregular, heavy, or painful periods, or spotting between periods. Seeking prompt medical attention can help you to diagnose the cause of your amenorrhea and receive appropriate treatment before it leads to any complications or affects your fertility.

References

If you want to learn more about amenorrhea, its causes, its symptoms, its diagnosis, and its treatment, you can refer to the following sources:

  • Amenorrhea: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis – This is a comprehensive article that provides an overview of amenorrhea, its types, its causes, its symptoms, its diagnosis, and its treatment options, as well as some tips for coping with amenorrhea.
  • Amenorrhea: An Approach to Diagnosis and Management – This is a scientific review that summarizes the current evidence and recommendations for the diagnosis and management of amenorrhea, based on the clinical guidelines and the best practices of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
  • Amenorrhea: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia – This is a reliable source of information that explains what amenorrhea is, what its causes are, what its symptoms are, how it is diagnosed, and how it is treated, as well as some possible complications and prevention strategies.

Conclusion

Amenorrhea is a condition in which a woman does not have menstrual periods for at least three months in a row, or has not started menstruating by the age of 15. Amenorrhea can have various causes, such as pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, structural issues, or stress and lifestyle factors. Amenorrhea can have serious consequences for the health and fertility of the woman, such as osteoporosis, infertility, heart disease, or diabetes. Therefore, it is important to take care of your menstrual health and to seek medical help if you notice any abnormal changes in your periods. The treatment of amenorrhea depends on the cause, the severity, and the personal preferences of the woman, and it may include hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, surgical interventions, or fertility treatments. Amenorrhea can be prevented or reduced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, exercising regularly, and seeking prompt medical attention for irregularities. Amenorrhea is a common and treatable condition that affects many women, and it should not be a source of shame or embarrassment. By being aware of your menstrual cycle and your body, and by consulting a doctor when needed, you can ensure your reproductive health and your well-being.

FAQ

  • What blood tests for amenorrhea? 
  • A blood test for amenorrhea may include the following: hormone levels (FSH, LH, estradiol, thyroid hormones, prolactin, hCG, and testosterone), pregnancy test, and other relevant blood markers (such as blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes, kidney function, blood count, and iron levels). These tests can help to assess the hormonal status and the pregnancy status of the woman and to detect any complications or comorbidities that may be associated with amenorrhea.
  • What are the symptoms and causes of amenorrhea? 
  • The main symptom of amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual periods for at least three months in a row, or the failure to start menstruating by the age of 15. However, amenorrhea can also be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause of the condition. Some of the common symptoms associated with amenorrhea are changes in menstrual cycle, hair growth, weight changes, headaches, vision problems, acne, breast changes, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. Amenorrhea can have different causes, depending on whether it is primary or secondary. Primary amenorrhea is when a girl has not started menstruating by the age of 15, while secondary amenorrhea is when a woman who has had regular periods stops having them for at least three months. Some of the common causes of amenorrhea are pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, structural issues, stress, and lifestyle factors.
  • What blood tests are done for no periods? 
  • The same blood tests that are done for amenorrhea can be done for no periods, as amenorrhea is the medical term for no periods. These tests can help to diagnose the cause of the condition and to provide appropriate treatment.
  • Which test is done for periods? 
  • There is no specific test that is done for periods, as periods are a natural phenomenon that occurs as a result of the menstrual cycle. However, some tests can be done to monitor the menstrual cycle and to check for any abnormalities, such as ovulation tests, basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and menstrual cycle apps.
  • Which test is done during periods? 
  • There is no specific test that is done during periods, as periods are not a disease or a disorder that needs to be tested. However, some tests can be done during periods to check for other conditions that may affect the periods, such as infections, anemia, endometriosis, or fibroids.
  • Can vitamin B12 affect your period?
  • Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is involved in the production of red blood cells, DNA, and nerve function. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia, fatigue, weakness, numbness, and neurological problems. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also affect the menstrual cycle, as it can cause irregular periods, heavy bleeding, or amenorrhea.
  • Can I do TSH test during periods?
  • TSH stands for thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is a hormone that regulates the activity of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, which are responsible for the metabolism, growth, and development of the body. TSH test is a blood test that measures the level of TSH in the blood, and it can help to diagnose thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. TSH tests can be done during periods, as periods do not affect the level of TSH in the blood. However, some factors that can affect the TSH test are time of the day, medications, supplements, illness, stress, or pregnancy.
  • What is the day 3 blood test for period?
  • The day 3 blood test for the period is a blood test that is done on the third day of the menstrual cycle, which is usually the second or third day of the period. The day 3 blood test for the period measures the levels of FSH, LH, and estradiol in the blood, and it can help to evaluate the ovarian reserve, which is the number and quality of the eggs in the ovaries. The day 3 blood test for period can also help to diagnose some conditions that affect the menstrual cycle, such as PCOS, premature ovarian failure, or menopause.
  • What is the diagnosis for no period? 
  • The diagnosis for no period is amenorrhea, which is a condition in which a woman does not have menstrual periods for at least three months in a row, or has not started menstruating by the age of 15. The diagnosis of amenorrhea involves the following steps: medical history, physical examination, hormone level testing, and imaging studies.
  • What if blood test is negative but still no period? 
  • If the blood test is negative but still no period, it means that the woman is not pregnant, but she has amenorrhea, which is a condition in which a woman does not have menstrual periods for at least three months in a row, or has not started menstruating by the age of 15. There are many possible causes of amenorrhea, such as hormonal imbalances, structural issues, stress, and lifestyle factors. Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor to determine the cause of amenorrhea and to receive appropriate treatment.
  • What will a gynecologist do for missed period?
  • Gynecological Specialist: A medical professional with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive organs. A gynecologist can do the following things for the missed period: perform a pregnancy test, order blood tests to check hormone levels, perform a pelvic exam to check for any abnormalities, order imaging studies to visualize the reproductive organs, prescribe medications to regulate the menstrual cycle or perform surgery to correct any structural issues.
  • When should you test if you have no period?
  • If you have no period, you should test for pregnancy as soon as possible, as missing a period can be a sign of pregnancy. You can use a home pregnancy test, which can detect the presence of hCG, a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy, in your urine. You can also visit a doctor to get a blood test, which can measure the level of hCG in your blood. A blood test can be more accurate and sensitive than a urine test, and it can also tell you how far along you are in your pregnancy.
  • What is the best treatment for amenorrhea? 
  • The best treatment for amenorrhea depends on the cause, the severity, and the personal preferences of the woman. The main goals of treatment are to restore the normal menstrual cycle, to prevent or treat any complications, and to address any fertility issues. Some of the best treatment approaches for amenorrhea are hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, surgical interventions, or fertility treatments.

*Image credits- freepik*

Important Notice:

The information provided on “health life ai” is intended for informational purposes only. While we have made efforts to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the information presented, we cannot guarantee its absolute correctness or completeness. Before applying any of the strategies or tips, please consult a professional medical adviser.

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