Thursday, 11 July 2013

Amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual

Amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual

There are various aspects of human reproduction system and some of them occur very rarely. As an infertility expert, I get a chance to encounter a wide variety of problems. It is essential to continuously study the vivid topics related to infertility and human reproduction, undoubtedly a practical scenario throws much light on the subject.
The recent example of a couple provided a brilliant chance for me to study an unusual problem that occurs in the females. The lady was complaining about absence of periods and suspecting pregnancy. I performed the pregnancy test and the result was negative. Further diagnosis revealed the presence of something else, Amenorrhea!

What is it?

You might get confused when you hear about it for the first time from the infertility expert. We know that females start menstrual periods as they achieve puberty. The cycle is continued for many years until she achieves another milestone in the life, the menopause! If a female experiences absence of three or more consecutive menstrual cycles at any phase other than pregnancy during this period, then technically it is termed as Amenorrhea. I would say it is certainly a rare phenomenon and that’s why you will not even hear about it in the normal scenario.
There are two types of Amenorrhea exist:

Primary Amenorrhea: Usually girls experience the first menstrual cycle between 13 to 16 years of age. If menstrual cycle does not start in a girl even if she reaches to the age of 16, we call it a Primary Amenorrhea.

Secondary Amenorrhea: If the menstrual cycle starts in the appropriate age, continues for a few years and then stops intermittently without a pregnancy, then we term the problem as Secondary Amenorrhea. It is required that there is a gap of three or more months in a row.

What is the root cause?

Well, the reasons are different in case of primary and secondary Amenorrhea.
The primary Amenorrhea causes due to failure of female reproductive organs like the ovaries, problem on the nervous system or problem in the pituitary gland that is responsible for secretion of hormones that help in triggering menstruation.
The secondary Amenorrhea can be triggered due to malnutrition, stress, problems in thyroid gland, depression, etc. Typically breast feeding mothers also experience it after starting the menstrual cycle. This happens because of hormonal imbalance. In a few cases family history, eating disorders and rigorous physical training has also been observed as the root cause behind this problem.

The symptoms and treatment

The primary symptom of Amenorrhea is obviously the absence of menstrual cycle, there can be many other symptoms like severe headache, loss of hair, heaviness in the voice and secretion from the breasts can be observed. Some of these symptoms are often misunderstood as the symptoms of pregnancy and the absence of periods adds to the confusion.
Treatment of Amenorrhea lasts for some time and apart from the hormonal treatment, I advice lifestyle changes to the couple and lowering the calorie intake, stopping rigorous exercise, reducing stress level and stopping the medicines that contain steroids. This will certainly help in bringing back the hormonal imbalance and triggering the menstrual cycle!

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