Amenorrhea is the absence of a menstrual period in a woman in her reproductive years. Amenorrhea is becoming increasingly common due to the rise in polycystic ovarian syndrome and hormonal imbalances.
Types of amenorrhea
Primary amenorrhea is when a woman has not had a menstrual period by the age of 16. Secondary amenorrhea is where a woman has not had a menstrual period for over 3 months. Not having regular periods leads to lowered fertility rates.
What are the causes of amenorrhea?
It is interesting to note that one of the most common cause of amenorrhea is pregnancy, which is why your doctor will always order a pregnancy test when you present with amoenorrhea.
Other common causes include:
Anovulation, or the failure to ovulate causes amenorrhea because after ovulation hormonal changes occur which build the endometrium, leading to menstruation 14 days later in a regular cycle.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS causes amenorrhea due to high levels of luteinising hormone (LH, which inhibits ovulation. The high androgen levels and insulin resistance which is associated with PCOS are also unfavourable to ovulation.
Hypothyroidism, or a low functioning thyroid can cause amenorrhea and infertility as the thyroid gland has a regulating role in the body.
High levels of the hormone prolactin inhibits ovulation, leading to amenorrhea. Prolactin is a natural contraceptive which is present in high levels while breastfeeding. This is why women who breastfeed do not start menstruating for several months after giving birth.
Athletic amenorrhea is well known. This is because a very low body fat percentage causes hormonal disruption and low levels of body fat, which is the building blocks of our hormones.
How can Natural Fertility Management help?
Natural fertility management addresses amenoorhea by looking at the causative factors. There are many herbal medicines which help to regulate hormones, encourage ovulation and to help to trigger a menstrual period.