If you’ve stopped getting your period recently, but don’t know why, Amenorrhea might be the answer. Characterized by an extended absence of periods, Amenorrhea can be caused by a variety of factors ranging from hormonal conditions, lifestyle choices, and genetic predispositions. Keep reading to find out more!
Primary Amenorrhea occurs when a girl has not gotten her period by age 15, but has hit other signs of puberty such as breast and pubic hair growth.
Secondary Amenorrhea occurs when a woman who has already gotten periods in the past does not receive her period for 3 or more consecutive months. Based on the different causes, this condition can be permanent or temporary.
Causes of Primary Amenorrhea:
This type of Amenorrhea typically is a result of genetic or reproductive abnormalities. Chromosomal problems with the ovaries may not allow them to function as intended and ovulate regularly, thus disrupting your menstrual cycle and the ability to menstruate. Problems with the release of hormones from the hypothalamus or pituitary gland could also play a role in influencing this condition and not trigger the onset of menstruation. Other structural issues with reproductive organs could also prevent periods, so it may be wise to consult your physician on what the best step for you is.
Causes of Secondary Amenorrhea:
Natural causes of secondary Amenorrhea include pregnancy and menopause, and should not be a concern, as your periods naturally stop in these stages of life. Breastfeeding and birth control pills often also lead to amenorrhea due to the nature of the process. Chemotherapy from cancer and issues with uterine surgery could also be a contributing factor, and if you suspect this might be the case, we recommend you consult a physician to better understand your symptoms.
Lifestyle changes can also have an impact on Amenorrhea, and stress, weight fluctuation, poor diet habits, and overexercising could make you more likely to develop irregular periods or Amenorrhea. In particular, overexercising could release excess cortisol and interfere with the production of needed reproductive hormones, thus resulting in irregular periods or Amenorrhea. Chronic illness and menstrual conditions such as PCOS, hypothyroidism, hypothalamus conditions such as FHA, and primary ovarian insufficiency, which can lead to early menopause, are all examples of disorders that may be influencing your symptoms as well.
Who is at increased risk?
If you have a menstrual condition that affects many aspects of your reproductive health or have a family history of early menopause, you may be more likely to experience Amenorrhea. Having high stress, over exercising, or not having a healthy diet may also make you predisposed to develop the condition.