Amenorrhea meaning, causes and treatments - Women Tips

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Maybe you've never heard of amenorrhea name, but probably already heard reports of women who were a certain period without menstruating. Or, the girls took a lot to get the first period.

Bárbara Murayama, obstetrician and gynecologist, explains that amenorrhea is a disorder of the menstrual cycle, causing the absence of menstruation. "It can be primary, when menstruation does not begin until 15 years, or secondary, when menstrual periods are absent for more than three to six months in a woman who has had menses," he adds.

According Sang Chaa, gynecologist and obstetrician, this is a relatively common problem, which occurs in approximately 5% of women in childbearing age. "It is more likely that the amenorrhea happens at the extremes of reproductive age, at the beginning, so at puberty, and its completion - would be in menopause when occurs menopause," he says.

When to seek medical help?

The Barbara gynecologist points out that while some women do not care about the lack of their menstrual period, these changes should always be discussed with a health professional, "it may signal underlying medical conditions and potentially have health consequences in the long deadline. A woman loses more than three menstrual periods (consecutive or over a year) and a girl who does not menstruated by age 15, one should consult a gynecologist, "she says.

"The ideal is to maintain a routine follow-up, since before puberty, so the doctor can see and anticipate if there is a delay in the first period. And whenever menstruation stay more than three months without showing it is imperative to look a / gynecologist, "adds Barbara.

Amenorrhea and pregnancy

Bárbara Murayama explains that pregnancy is the most common cause of secondary amenorrhea. "This can occur even in women who claim that they are not sexually active or have the certainty that intercourse occurred at a time 'safe'. It is also important to note that the apparent menstrual bleeding does not exclude pregnancy, since a substantial number of pregnancies is associated with some bleeding in the first quarter. Thus, a pregnancy test (serum measurements of hCG or human urine [hCG]) is recommended as a first step in evaluating any woman with amenorrhea, "the gynecologist and obstetrician.

Why amenorrhea happens?

There are several factors that can influence the absence of menstruation. In the case of primary amenorrhea, a gynecologist and obstetrician Bárbara Murayama highlights:

  • Conditions that are present at birth, but may not be noticed until puberty. "These conditions include deficiencies and abnormalities of the reproductive organs (for example, the uterus is not present or developed abnormally) genetic or chromosomal" adds Barbara.
  • All conditions that lead to secondary amenorrhea can also cause primary amenorrhea.

In the case of secondary amenorrhea, professional highlights:

  • Pregnancy as the most common cause.
  • ovarian conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, and ovarian failure (early menopause).
  • Hypothalamic amenorrhea: occurs when the hypothalamus slows or stops releasing GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone).
  • "Hypothalamic amenorrhea is associated with low body weight (defined as 10% underweight ideal weight), a low percentage of body fat, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, emotional stress, strenuous exercise, among other situations. However, in some cases, there is no obvious explanation for hypothalamic amenorrhea, "said the gynecologist.
  • Increased hormone prolactin, thyroid gland disorders are also causes fairly common. "And it is for these that we begin research," adds Barbara.


According to the gynecologist and obstetrician Chaa, the absence of bleeding is often accompanied by increased body weight, irritability and water retention. But the symptoms depend on the cause of amenorrhea (which varies from case to case, as cited above).

Because the problem is diagnosed?

Obstetrician-Gynecologist Sang Chaa out, first, that all amenorrhea needs to be investigated. Hence the need to seek medical help as soon as a noticeable absence of menstruation (for three consecutive months), as well as the delay to the beginning of the first period. "The diagnosis is mainly clinical and depends on each case," he says.

The Barbara gynecologist explains that, to diagnose the problem, you need a "good clinical history, to know the patient and their background; a thorough physical examination, gynecological - complete if it is no longer a virgin and only external characters if virgin - to assess, among other things, its development. Then leave for the imaging and laboratory to rely on suspicions that we have after the consultation. Will generally be included pelvic ultrasound, pregnancy test, thyroid, prolactin, "he says.

How is amenorrhea treated?

You have to find the cause to treat it specifically. "In patients with uterine synechiae, for example, it is necessary curettage and intrauterine device placement; in patients with polycystic ovaries it is necessary to use oral contraceptives. In patients with amenorrhea, but without apparent cause, can induce menstruation through use of hormones cycle that induce endometrial proliferation, "explains Chaa gynecologist.

Barbara also cites other examples. "If there is a change of thyroid or hormone prolactin is necessary to adjust and so on. Cases like hymen imperfurados, may require surgery. And yet, in genetic abnormalities where there is no uterus, the person will never menstruate, "concludes the gynecologist and obstetrician.

How to prevent amenorrhea happen?

routine visits are important so that at any sign of trouble, the gynecologist can intervene.

This, incidentally, is the recommendation to avoid the worsening of any gynecological problem and also for health care in general.