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Home Useful Information Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea can be caused by a large number of factor, and may significantly affect a woman's ability to have children.

What is amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is the absence of a menstrual period. Amenorrhea is classified as either primary amenorrhea or secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea occurs when a woman has never had a menstrual period (typically by age sixteen) or fails to develop secondary sex characteristics (typically by age fourteen). Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman who has menstruated previously, ceases to do so for more than three to six months.

What are the symptoms of amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea itself is characterized by the lack of a menstrual period. Women experiencing primary amenorrhea may lack the development of secondary sex characteristics, such as pubic hair and development of the breasts. Depending on the cause of the amenorrhea, a large variety of symptoms may be associated with the condition, for example, women with poly-cystic ovary syndrome may experience severe abdominal pain, while women with pituitary tumors may experience headaches and migraines.

What causes amenorrhea?
Primary amenorrhea may be caused by defects in the structure or functioning of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, lack of or abnormal reproductive organs, or chromosomal abnormalities.

Secondary amenorrhea may be caused by pregnancy, breastfeeding, hormonal birth control, medications, physical and emotional stress, excessive exercise, hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, pituitary tumors, uterine scarring, and primary ovarian reserve deficiency. Causes such as pregnancy, birth control, breastfeeding and medications are not typically a cause for alarm.

Can amenorrhea affect fertility?
If a woman is not menstruating, it is possible she is not ovulating. If a woman fails to ovulate, pregnancy is impossible to achieve.

What treatments are available for amenorrhea?
The treatments used for amenorrhea differ drastically depending on the root cause of the amenorrhea. In some cases, such as in women suffering from hormonal imbalances or poly-cystic ovary syndrome, medications may be beneficial. In cases where physical and emotional stress are the cause of the amenorrhea, lifestyle and diet changes may be advisable. In the rare cases where a tumor or physical defect is the cause of the amenorrhea, surgery may be desirable.