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Amenorrhea... the absence of periods

For a woman to have regular menstrual cycles, her hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries, and uterus should all be functioning normally. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH and LH cause the ovaries to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the cyclical changes in the endometrium (uterine lining), including menstruation. In addition, a woman’s genital tract should be free of any abnormalities to allow the passage of menstrual blood.

There are 2 types of Amenorrhea:

Primary Amenorrhea
Defined as the absence of menstruation by the age of 16. Primary amenorrhea is uncommon, happening in about only 0.3% of women.

 

Secondary Amenorrhea
Defined as the absence of menstruation for the total of 3 previous menstrual cycle lengths or at least 6 months in a woman who previously had a menstrual cycle and is still in her reproductive years.

 
What Causes Amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea can result because of an abnormality in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, anatomical abnormalities of the genital tract, or functional causes.

Hypothalamic causes:

-Craniopharyngioma (a brain tumor near the pituitary gland)

-Kallmann syndrome (deficiency of gonadotropins, which are hormones capable of promoting growth and function of reproductive organs)

-Nutritional deficiency

-Low body weight or growth delay

Pituitary causes:

-Prolactinemia (high blood levels of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates secretion of milk from the breasts during breastfeeding) - possibly caused by prolactinoma (a tumor of the pituitary gland secreting the hormone prolactin)

-Disorders related to other pituitary tumors (for example, Cushing syndrome, acromegaly, or thyroid-stimulating hormone)

-Postpartum pituitary necrosis (death of pituitary cells after a woman delivers a baby)

-Autoimmune hypophysitis (cells of the pituitary gland destroyed by the body’s own defense system)

-Craniopharyngioma (a tumor within the pituitary gland)

-Pituitary radiation

-Sarcoidosis (a generalized disease which may affect the pituitary)

 

Ovarian causes:

-Anovulation (lack of the release of an egg)

-Hyperandrogenemia (high blood levels of male hormones)

-Polycystic ovary syndrome (hormonal disorder affecting women of reproductive age)

-Premature ovarian failure

-Turner syndrome (a genetic disorder characterized by underdeveloped ovaries, failure to menstrate, and short stature)

-Pure gonadal dysgenesis (defective development of the ovary)

-Autoimmune oophoritis (cells of the ovaries destroyed by the body’s own defense system)

-Fragile X premutation

-Radiation or chemotherapy

-Galactosemia (an inherited disorder in which galactose, a type of sugar, accumulates in the blood)

-Anatomical abnormalities of the genital tract

-Intrauterine adhesions

-Imperforate hymen (a hymen in which there is no opening, the membrane completely closes off the vagina)

-Transverse vaginal septum (a dividing wall or membrane in the vagina)

-Aplasia (absence of an organ or tissue) of the vagina, the cervix, or the uterus

Functional causes:

-Anorexia/bulimia

-Chronic diseases (for example, tuberculosis)

-Excessive weight gain or weight loss

-Malnutrition

-Depression or other psychiatric disorders

-Recreational drug abuse

-Psychotropic drug use (drugs prescribed to stabilize or improve mood, mental status, or behavior)

-Excessive stress

-Excessive exercise

-Cycle suppression with systemic hormonal contraceptive (birth control) pills

 

Symptoms of Amenorrhea

 

Amenorrhea is a symptom of an underlying disorder rather than a condition in and of itself. Additional symptoms may be present depending on the associated condition.

-Galactorrhea (breasts produce milk in a woman who is not pregnant or breastfeeding), headache, or reduced peripheral vision can be a sign of an intracranial tumor.

-Increased hair growth in a male pattern (hirsutism) may be caused by excess androgen (a hormone that encourages development of male sex characteristics).

-Vaginal dryness, hot flashesnight sweats, or disordered sleep may be a sign of ovarian insufficiency or premature ovarian failure.

-Noticeable weight gain or weight loss may be present.

-Excessive anxiety may be present in women with associated psychiatric abnormalities.

How to Diagnose Amenorrhea

 

A doctor may perform the following tests to determine the cause of the amenorrhea:

-Blood tests may be performed to determine the levels of hormones secreted by the pituitary gland (FSH, LH, TSH, and prolactin) and the ovaries (estrogen).

-Ultrasonography of the pelvis may be performed to assess the abnormalities of the genital tract or to look for polycystic ovaries.

-CT scan or MRI of the head may be performed to exclude pituitary and hypothalamic causes of amenorrhea.

 

If the above tests are inconclusive, additional tests may be performed including:

-Thyroid function tests

-Determination of prolactin levels

-Hysterosalpingogram (X-ray test) or saline infusion sonography (SIS), both of which examine the uterus

-Hysteroscopy (visual inspection of the uterine cavity)

 
Primary Amenorrhea


Defined as the absence of menstruation by the age of 16. Primary amenorrhea is uncommon, happening in about only 0.3% of women.

Secondary Amenorrhea


Defined as the absence of menstruation for the total of 3 previous menstrual cycle lengths or at least 6 months in a woman who previously had a menstrual cycle and is still in her reproductive years.

Cleansing Pearls have been very affective in many cases of Amenorrhea both primary and secondary Alhamdulillah. This is due to the following natural herbs commonly used in Chinese medicine:

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
This herb is very effective at reducing uterine muscle spasm, cramping and improving uterine tone. Motherwort has been found to mildly stimulate the uterus while also aiding the uterus to work efficiently, which is helpful in bringing on menstruation.

Dong Quai root (Angelica sinensis)
This is the main herb for this issue. Dong Quai works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it helps support the body to bring back an absent period. It does this by nourishing the blood, improving hormonal regulation and aiding in uterine tone.

We recommend using 1-3 cleansing pearls if your period is late by 20 days and you are not pregnant. This can be repeated after 10 days if menstruation is still absent.

If you suffer from Primary Amenorrhea then we recommend Deep Cleansing (3 pearls) every 20 days for up to 3 months (if menstruation hasn't started) alongside Maca.