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Amenorrhée : Comprendre l'absence de règles-Gapianne
Cycle menstruel

Amenorrhea: Understanding Absence of Periods

Who has ever felt a certain anxiety when their period is late in arriving? (raise your hand!) When you have sex with men and one month you don't have your period on the normal date, you immediately think of a potential pregnancy . Especially if this absence lasts several months, a sudden stress and we start to make movies. But do you know amenorrhea and its different causes?

What is amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea refers to the absence of menstruation in a person. Normally, the menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days. When menstruation does not appear for several consecutive cycles , it is called amenorrhea.

It can be either primary or secondary , we detail that:

Primary amenorrhea

Primary amenorrhea occurs at the age of puberty, when the first menstruation has never appeared in a person at the age when it should have. It can be due to different causes, such as hormonal problems, anatomical abnormalities or genetic conditions.
Some people with primary amenorrhea may show signs of puberty such as developing breasts and pubic hair, but their cycle never begins. Others may not have any signs of puberty at all.

Secondary amenorrhea

Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a person stops having periods after a period of normal menstruation.

Let's detail together this type of amenorrhea:

What are the possible causes of secondary amenorrhea?

Secondary amenorrhea can have several potential causes, here are some of them:

Pregnancy

We had to start with that, because pregnancy is still the most common cause of secondary amenorrhea. It is important to check with a pregnancy test if this is the reason for the absence of menstruation because certain prescriptions to treat amenorrhea are contraindicated in case of pregnancy .

Hormonal imbalance

Polycystic ovary syndrome

PCOS is a condition that is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts in the ovaries, hormonal imbalances, and symptoms such as irregular periods.

When we have PCOS, our levels of estrogen and progesterone can be disrupted, resulting in a lack of regular ovulation and therefore amenorrhea.

Note, not everyone with PCOS will necessarily have amenorrhea. Some may have regular or irregular periods, while others may have excessive or prolonged bleeding.

Early ovarian failure

Primary ovarian failure, also called premature menopause , occurs when the ovaries fail to function properly before age 40. The latter do not produce enough female sex hormones , especially estrogen, needed to regulate the menstrual cycle and maintain fertility. Women with premature ovarian failure may have irregular or absent menstrual cycles, and symptoms of menopause (hot flushes, etc.).

However, not all people with ovarian failure will necessarily develop amenorrhea, as some may have irregular periods rather than a complete absence of periods.

Thyroid problems

Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism , can disrupt your period. When the thyroid is functioning normally in a woman and person with a vulva, it produces and releases thyroid hormones in the body. These play a key role in regulating metabolism, growth and development of the body .

Physical or emotional stress

When a person is faced with high levels of stress, the body can release cortisol excessively and for a long time. This can disrupt the functioning of the hypothalamus, responsible for regulating reproductive hormones, by suppressing the production of certain hormonal substances.
Additionally, stress can lead to changes in blood flow , reducing circulation to reproductive organs, which can also affect periods.

body weight

Extreme weight in women and people with vulva, whether too low or too high, can disrupt the hormonal balance and cause amenorrhea.

When body weight is extremely low , such as with an eating disorder such as anorexia, this can lead to decreased estrogen production thus leading to missed periods.

On the other hand, high body weight , as in the case of obesity, can also disrupt hormonal balance and cause missed periods. Excess body fat can affect the sensitivity of cells to insulin, a hormone important for hormone regulation .

Medications

Certain medications, such as birth control pills or medications used to treat specific conditions can also affect your period. For example when treating endometriosis or taking antidepressants.

Anatomic abnormalities

Abnormalities in the uterus, ovaries, or other reproductive organs can prevent menstruation from occurring normally.

Certain abnormalities of the uterus, such as the presence of a bicornuate uterus (with an internal partition), a septate uterus (with an internal partition), or a retroverted uterus (tilted backwards), can affect menstrual flow. These abnormalities can prevent normal menstrual blood flow, causing irregular bleeding or missed periods. It is also a possible cause of primary amenorrhea.

Other health problems, such as infections of the reproductive organs, uterine fibroids (benign tumors of the uterus), uterine polyps (abnormal growths in the lining of the uterus), or cancers of the uterus or ovaries, may also cause menstrual abnormalities.

Diagnosis of amenorrhea

Several tests and examinations may be needed to make an accurate diagnosis.

  • The doctor will first ask about symptoms, medical history, and possible risk factors.
  • Then, the professional will perform a physical examination to detect any abnormalities.
  • Blood tests will also be done to measure hormone levels and detect possible infections or metabolic disorders.
  • Depending on the results, a pelvic ultrasound may be done to examine the internal genitalia.
  • Finally, if no obvious cause is identified, an endometrial biopsy may be performed to check for the presence or absence of uterine tissue.

Once the diagnosis has been established, appropriate treatment can be put in place to restore menstruation and fertility.

Treatment of amenorrhea

Treatment for amenorrhea of ​​course depends on its underlying cause. We invite you to get closer to health professionals in order to find the treatment that will be adapted to your own situation.

Here are some possible approaches:

  1. Specific treatments: If medical conditions such as PCOS, thyroid disorders, or anatomical abnormalities are causing amenorrhea, their specific treatment may be recommended.
  2. Stress management: If stress is identified as the cause of amenorrhea, stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga , or therapy may be recommended. You can also consume CBD which helps to relax, or opt for our Anti-stress Routine composed of effective relaxing herbal tea, comforting balm and 10% CBD oil.
  3. Dietary Changes: In cases where underweight or overweight is the cause of amenorrhea, dietary changes may be necessary to achieve a healthy weight and restore hormonal balance.
  4. Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle adjustments such as stopping the use of medications that can disrupt the menstrual cycle or reducing stress levels can be beneficial in restoring regular periods.

Absence of periods: summary

Amenorrhea can be a confusing and concerning topic for many women and people with vulvae. Understanding the different possible causes of primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea is an important first step to getting an accurate diagnosis and proper care . Whether it's due to hormonal imbalance, stress, weight issues or other factors, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for answers and the right support.

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