Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation; one or more missed menstrual periods. Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row have amenorrhea, also girls who haven't begun menstruation by age 15. The most common cause of amenorrhea is pregnancy. Other causes of amenorrhea include problems with the reproductive organs or with the glands that help regulate hormone levels. Treatment of the underlying condition often resolves amenorrhea. The main sign of amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual periods. Depending on the cause of amenorrhea, you might experience other signs or symptoms along with the absence of periods, such as: Milky nipple discharge, Hair loss, Vision changes, Excess facial hair, Pelvic pain.
To get ready for your appointment: Write down details about your symptoms. Make note of key medical information. Review your family history. Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For amenorrhea, some basic questions to ask your doctor include: What might be causing me to miss my periods? Do I need any tests? How should I prepare for those tests? What treatments are available? Which do you recommend for me?
This test measures pituitary hormone levels responsible for induction and regulation of menses. Contraceptive pills or other hormone therapies can restart your menstrual cycles. Amenorrhea caused by thyroid or pituitary disorders may be treated with medications. If a tumour or structural blockage is causing the problem, surgery may be necessary.
During your appointment, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to check for any problems with your reproductive organs. If you've never had a period, your doctor may examine your breasts and genitals to see if you're experiencing the normal changes of puberty. Amenorrhea can be a sign of a complex set of hormonal problems. A variety of blood tests may be necessary, including: Pregnancy test. This will probably be the first test your doctor suggests, to rule out or confirm a possible pregnancy. Thyroid function test. Measuring the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood can determine if your thyroid is working properly.
Ovary function test. Measuring the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your blood can determine if your ovaries are working properly. Prolactin test. Low levels of the hormone prolactin may be a sign of a pituitary gland tumour. Male hormone test. If you're experiencing increased facial hair and a lowered voice, your doctor may want to check the level of male hormones in your blood.