Diagnosis and Treatment of Amenorrhea

Diagnosis of amenorrhea is actually finding out the cause of amenorrhea. Absence of menstrual period is amenorrhea, and there is no need of diagnosis of amenorrhea. Hence, what is important is to find out the cause of amenorrhea. In finding out cause of amenorrhea, physical examination is important. Your doctor may examine pelvic area to find out if there is any obvious problem with reproductive organs. If you never had periods, your doctor may examine genitals and breasts to find out if you have normal physiological changes that occur during puberty.ID-100301227

Various lab tests are done in case of amenorrhea, they are

  • Pregnancy test: this is most commonly done in case of amenorrhea to rule out or confirm pregnancy. This test is nowadays easily available over the counter in most countries. You have to buy a “pregnancy test kit” and put a drop of urine in the test strip. You can read the result easily, as instructions are clearly written and anyone can follow the instructions.
  • Thyroid function test: to check blood levels of thyroid hormones (T3, T4 and TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone). Thyroid function abnormality (overactive or underactive thyroid gland) is a common cause of amenorrhea. Thyroid function test can easily find out if you have normal or abnormal thyroid function.
  • Test to find ovarian function: measurement of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) can determine if your ovaries are functioning properly. Abnormal ovarian function is an important cause of amenorrhea.
  • Male hormone tests: if you have amenorrhea it may be due to excess male hormones in your body (although you are female). There may be more facial hairs and voice may also change.
  • Prolactin level in blood can indicate pituitary gland tumor, which can be a cause of amenorrhea.
  • Hormone challenge test: this test tell you if your amenorrhea is due to lack of estrogen.

Imaging for finding the cause of amenorrhea:

Depending on the lab test results and findings of physical examination and associated signs and symptoms, your doctor may recommend following imaging tests,

  • Ultrasound can find if there is any abnormality in reproductive organs.
  • CT scan: it can pinpoint if there is any abnormality in uterus, ovaries
  • MRI can be used to find if there is abnormality/tumor in pituitary gland or any other soft tissue

Your doctor may also ask you to undergo hysteroscopy examination. Hysteroscopy can directly visualize the inside of uterus and find if there is any abnormality in the lining, such as scar mark in uterine lining.

Treatment of amenorrhea:

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of amenorrhea. If the cause is treated successfully menstrual cycle will resume. For example, if amenorrhea is due to thyroid problem treatment of the thyroid problem will solve amenorrhea problem and menstrual cycle restart.

Lifestyle and amenorrhea:

Certain lifestyle factors can affect amenorrhea. For example eating too little (anorexia nervosa) or eating too much (bulimia nervosa) can lead to amenorrhea. Doing too much physical exercise as done by international level athletes can also cause amenorrhea. Hence, one need to have balance of exercise, diet etc. for best results.

 

Image courtesy of [adamr] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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