What is absent menstruation?
Absent menstruation, or amenorrhea,
is the absence of menstrual bleeding. It happens when a girl hasn’t had her
first menstrual period by age 16. It also occurs then a woman fails to
menstruate for 3 to 6 months.
Amenorrhea can happen for many reasons. The most common
cause is pregnancy. However, amenorrhea may also be caused by various lifestyle
factors, including body weight and exercise levels. In some cases, hormonal
imbalances or problems with the reproductive organs might be the cause.
You should see your doctor if you’re experiencing amenorrhea.
The underlying cause of your missed periods may require treatment.
Types of absent menstruation
The two types of amenorrhea are referred to as primary and
Primary amenorrhea is when a teenage girl has reached or
passed the age of 16 and still hasn’t had her first period. Most girls begin menstruating
between ages 9 and 18, but 12 is the average age.
Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman has stopped
menstruating for at least three months. This is the more common form of
In most cases, both types can be treated effectively.
Causes of absent menstruation
Primary and secondary amenorrhea can occur for numerous
reasons. Some causes are natural, while others are medical conditions that need
to be treated.
causes most likely to cause amenorrhea include pregnancy, breast-feeding, and menopause.
factors may include excessive exercise and stress. Also, having too little body
fat or too much body fat may also delay or stop menstruation.
- Hormonal imbalances
may cause amenorrhea. They are usually triggered by tumors on the pituitary
gland or the thyroid gland.
Low estrogen levels or high testosterone levels can also cause them.
- Medications can cause amenorrhea in some women.
Antipsychotics and antidepressants are often involved. Chemotherapy drugs and
medications that treat high blood pressure can cause problems with menstruation
as well. Suddenly stopping birth control pills may also lead to several months
of absent periods before the cycle returns to normal.
defects such as structural problems in the female reproductive organs might be
responsible for absent or delayed menstruation. These issues can result
from birth defects, tumors, or infections that occurred in the womb or shortly
after birth. In rare cases, missed periods could be a symptom of Asherman’s
syndrome. This occurs due to scarring in the uterus after surgery, which can prevent
disorders or chromosomal disorders, such as Turner syndrome and
Sawyer syndrome, can sometimes cause late menstruation.
When to see a doctor about absent menstruation
A teenage girl who hasn’t started her periods by at least
age 16 should see a doctor. A trip to the doctor’s office is also necessary if
she is age 14 or older and hasn’t experienced any
signs of puberty yet. These changes would include the following in numbered order
- thelarche (breast bud development)
- pubarche (pubic hair development)
- menarche (onset of menstrual periods)
Menstruating women and teens should see their doctor if they
have missed three or more periods in a row.
What to expect at a doctor’s appointment
When you see your doctor about amenorrhea, your doctor will perform
a physical exam and ask you a series of questions. Be prepared to talk about
your normal menstrual cycle, your lifestyle, and any other symptoms you’re
experiencing. Your doctor will also order a pregnancy test if you haven’t had a
period in three months. If that condition is ruled out, you may need more tests
to determine the underlying cause of your missed periods. These diagnostic
tests may include:
- Blood tests, which will allow your doctor to
check hormone levels in your body. Prolactin, luteinizing hormone, and follicle
stimulating hormone are all related to menstruation. Determining these levels
can help your doctor determine or rule out the cause of your absent periods.
is an imaging test that uses high frequency sound waves to create detailed
pictures of the inside of your body. It enables your doctor to view various
organs, such as the ovaries and uterus, and check for abnormal growths.
- CT scan is another type of
imaging test that uses computers and rotating X-ray machines to create
cross-sectional images of the body. These images allow your doctor to look for
masses and tumors in your glands and organs.
Treatment for absent menstruation
Treatment for amenorrhea varies depending on the underlying
cause. Hormonal imbalances can be treated with supplemental or synthetic
hormones, which can help normalize hormone levels. Your doctor may also want to
remove ovarian cysts, scar tissue, or uterine lesions that are causing you to
miss your menstrual periods.
Your doctor may also recommend making
simple lifestyle changes if your weight or exercise routine is contributing to
your condition. Ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist or dietician, if
necessary. These specialists can teach you how to manage your weight and
physical activity in a healthy way.
What you can do now
an appointment with your doctor so they can determine the cause of your
amenorrhea. Make sure you stick with your treatment plan and attend all
follow-up appointments. Always contact your doctor if your condition doesn’t
improve with medical treatments or lifestyle modifications.