Hormonal imbalance – a number of medical conditions result in hormonal imbalance like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid malfunction, pituitary tumors, and premature menopause. These conditions affect the hormonal regulation of menstruation, resulting in menstrual irregularities. PCOS maintains the hormones at a higher level, disrupting the normal changes in menstruation. In women with premature menopause, the release of eggs from the ovaries stops by 40 years old. This disrupts the cycle and stops menstrual periods.
Problems in the reproductive organs – Scarring of the tissue lining the uterus affects the menstrual periods and stops menstruation. In some children, the reproductive system fails to develop properly and hence there is a complete absence of menstruation. Menstrual bleeding may also be stopped by an obstruction in the vagina.
Lifestyle factors – certain lifestyle factors like low body weight, excessive exercise, and stress also cause amenorrhea. Menstrual cycles are interrupted by strenuous physical activity. Stress affects the functioning of the hypothalamus and hormonal regulation of menstruation.
Some of the common risk factors for amenorrhea include:
Making a diagnosis of Amenorrhea is done by pelvic examination, which identifies problems within the reproductive organs.
These tests are recommended to check for the underlying cause of the amenorrhea:
A pregnancy test is one of the first tests suggested.
Thyroid tests help to check for impaired thyroid functioning.
Functioning of the ovaries is determined by an ovary function test.
A prolactin test identifies pituitary gland functioning.
A hormone challenge test helps to identify the hormonal causes of the condition. In this test, hormonal medication is given for few days to see whether menstrual bleeding is triggered.
Imaging techniques are suggested based on the underlying cause of amenorrhea. Ultrasound scan aids are used to visualize the structure and functioning of reproductive organs. CT scans and MRI help to check the structure and functioning of internal organs. They also help to locate tumors that result in amenorrhea.
Hysteroscopy, a method in which images of the cervix and vagina are obtained, is recommended when no specific cause of the condition is revealed.
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