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Amenorrhea 101: What you must know about the missing menstrual cycle

If you're worried about your skipped periods, you've got to know what is amenorrhea! Read on to know about it from a gynaecologist.
absence of menstrual cycle
If it has been two or three months without a period, it's time to visit a doctor. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 13:21 pm IST
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Isn’t it a cause of concern when Aunt Flo decides to disappear for months for no reason. It can be really worrisome for all of us if our period doesn’t visit on time. While it’s true that every woman’s menstrual cycle is different, some have shorter periods, while others have longer periods — but if you have missed your period for more than two or three months, it is a matter of concern.

In case of missed periods, the panic alarms are sure to start ringing. That prolonged cycle could immediately make you think that you are in trouble and something is going wrong with your health. So if you aren’t getting your periods even though you’ve been through puberty, aren’t pregnant, and haven’t gone through menopause then you might be dealing with Amenorrhea.

What is amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea is not a disease and not even a condition of the irregular period. It is the absence of a menstrual cycle for a prolonged period of time. There are two types of amenorrhea:

1. Primary amenorrhea: Primary amenorrhea can be described as a failure to reach menarche.

2. Secondary amenorrhea: Secondary amenorrhea is the absence of three or more periods by a woman who has previously had periods.

causes of amenorrhea
Take the medical teatment to regulate your periods. Image courtesy: Shuttersock

Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, Mumbai, says this condition can be temporary or permanent. But in most cases, it can be treated.

But what causes missed periods or amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea is often a sign of another health issue rather than a disease itself, that can happen for many reasons. But primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea have different causes.

Let’s first understand what causes primary amenorrhea:

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1. Hormonal imbalance

Certain conditions such as Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), or underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), tumour in the pituitary gland causes hormonal fluctuations that can cause primary amenorrhea and other menstrual irregularities.

2. Structural problems

“Did you know that issues like uterine scarring can also invite amenorrhea as it will prevent normal buildup and shedding of the lining of one’s uterus. If there is any kind of obstruction in the vagina then this can be problematic as it can lead to primary amenorrhea,” says Dr Siddhartha.

3. Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities

Chromosomal or even genetic issues with ovaries (the female sex organs that hold the eggs) can lead to primary amenorrhea.

Know the causes of secondary amenorrhea:

1. Chemotherapy and radiation can lead to secondary amenorrhea or the absence of a period.
2. Pregnancy and breastfeeding, menopause, using contraceptives can also make cause this condition.
3. Other causes are stress, certain medications, obesity, low weight, poor nutrition, or any chronic illness that can be worrisome as one can experience secondary amenorrhea.

So is there any way to treat the condition?

Amenorrhea is reversible with treatment. Some treatment options require a change in your diet and in your lifestyle. Moreover, these are some ways to manage amenorrhea:

1. Weight loss

Obesity is one of the causes of secondary amenorrhea. So if you are overweight then you have to lose weight with the help of diet and exercise because being overweight can affect your menstrual cycle.

causes of amenorrhea
Shed those extra pounds for the sake of your menstrual health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Hormonal therapy

Changes in the menstrual cycle are mainly a result of hormonal imbalance which can be treated by hormonal therapy. So if you’re dealing with Amenorrhea, you will have to take hormonal therapy as suggested by the doctor.

3. Stress management

Stress is a big enemy of your menstrual cycle. It can lead to hormonal imbalance which can impact your cycle negatively therefore you will have to de-stress by doing yoga or meditation.

When to seek medical attention for this condition?

If you’ve been suffering from this condition, or if you have missed your periods 3-4 times then do not delay anymore and seek immediate medical attention.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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