Amenorrhea Symptoms and Complications

Amenorrhea is absence of menstruation. When one or more menstrual periods are missed it can be called amenorrhea. A woman of reproductive age, when a period is missed or delayed by few days in otherwise normal regular menstrual cycle can be also called amenorrhea and cause of amenorrhea investigated. In general women who miss at least three consecutive menstrual periods is termed as amenorrhea. Also, if a girl do not start menstrual cycle by age of 15 years is termed amenorrhea. If a woman has very regular menstrual cycle (i.e. every menstrual cycle is of same length which can be 28 days or more or less than 28 days), delay of even a few days should give suspicion and the cause should be investigated and gynecologist consulted.ID-100361223

The most common cause of amenorrhea (especially among women of reproductive age) is pregnancy. Other causes of amenorrhea include, problem with reproductive organs or problem with hormones (hormonal imbalance). The solution in most cases lies in treating the underlying cause of amenorrhea. Absence of menstruation or stoppage of menstruation in an elderly woman is not termed amenorrhea, it is called menopause, which is permanent stoppage of menstruation.

What are the symptoms of amenorrhea?

The most important symptom of amenorrhea is of course absence of menstruation. However, there may also be various other symptoms associated with nascence of menstrual cycle depending on the cause of amenorrhea, such as

  • Pain in pelvic area
  • Headache may accompany amenorrhea
  • Vision change may occur when amenorrhea starts
  • Hair loss may also be seen along with absence of menstruation or there may be excess facial hairs at the same time
  • There may be sudden appearance of acne in face along with amenorrhea

These symptoms may or may not be present along with absence of menstrual cycle. However, the above mentioned symptoms may not be serious may be ignored. Amenorrhea for pregnancy is the commonest cause and all patients with amenorrhea, should be investigated for pregnancy and pregnancy test done.

When should you consult your gynecologist/doctor?

If you miss three periods in a row, consult your doctor. If you are a girl of age 15 years and menarche (the beginning of menstruation in a girl) is yet to start, consult your doctor. If you have very regular period of same length cycle and period is delayed by even few days, consult your doctor. If you miss a period and is associated with symptoms mentioned above, consult your gynecologist.

Are you at risk of amenorrhea?

You may have higher risk of developing amenorrhea if you have family history of amenorrhea (if your first degree relatives have amenorrhea), eating disorder (such as anorexia or bulimia) or if you undergo severe athletic training.

What are the possible complications of amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea have two important possible complications,

  • Infertility: If you have amenorrhea and there is no ovulation the risk is infertility.
  • Osteoporosis: if your amenorrhea is due hormonal problem such as low estrogen, the risk of osteoporosis is high and your bones become weak and may fracture easily.

 

Image courtesy of [nenetus] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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