Amenorrhea is one of those words that many don’t know what to do with. You have to break down the word for it to make sense; then it makes perfect sense.
- The “A” part means not or negative, against.
- The “men” means month as in meno-pause, menstruation or menstrual cycle.
- The”orrhea” part comes from the Greek RHOIA which means flow.
Together you have NOT – MONTHLY – FLOWING = A-men-orrhea / Amenorrhea.
Apart from the scientific, let me speak in a more personal tone.
It is so much more than missing a period, right? Missing a period is welcomed some times. Amenorrhea is barely even noticed until all of a sudden you realize that it has been many months and it is not as simple as enjoying a missed period. Now, you realize that it is actually maybe not a positive thing but something might be wrong; especially if you are trying to have a baby.
What is primary amenorrhea?
You know you have primary amenorrhea if you have never had a period by sometime in your mid-late teens. It is usually caused by structural problems in your body’s initial development such as, believe it or not, not having a uterus AKA congenital absence of a uterus. Another reason for primary amenorrhea would be when the ovary fails to receive or maintain egg (ova) cells.
Without a uterus you cannot build up a uterine/endometrial lining of blood.
Without being able to receive or maintain egg cells your body will not get the signal to produce progesterone, which in turn will fluff up the lining and then, as progesterone dissipates, will tell the lining to shed.
If development of puberty is delayed this can also cause amenorrhea. This means either secondary characteristics are not seen by age 14 and no menstrual cycling – AKA menarche – or if there are “typical” secondary sexual characteristics but no menstrual cycling by 16. It is all about the development at each age plateau and if it has been achieved. Secondary characteristics do not have to do with genitalia or reproductive systems but meaning breasts and a change in curves/hips and in boys it would be broadening of shoulders, Adam’s apple etc.
We have found that women who do not have secondary teeth – adult teeth – often fall into this category of primary amenorrhea, as well as secondary. Since 1998, when couples have come to us trying to conceive, this is one anomaly we have come across for which we cannot be of any help.
What is Secondary Amenorrhea?
Secondary amenorrhea as a definition would be when there is no menses for at least three months for a woman who has previously had normal menstrual cycles. It is also defined after nine months of infrequent menstruation – AKA oligomenorrhoea. Oligomenorrhoea is when menstruation happens less often than 35 days and with only 4 to 9 cycles per year. It is also, typically, associated with lighter, scant periods when menstruation actually does occur.
Secondary amenorrhoea is when there has once been menstruation but it is no longer constant. It is usually, but not always, caused by hormonal imbalance relating to either the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland.
Premature menopause is another common factor but in most cases this is seen later in the 30s or early 40s more than with teens and 20 somethings. Premature menopause is usually easier to detect since FSH should show in higher numbers. This can be tested with a Saliva Hormone Kit.
Another reason for secondary amenorrhea can be intrauterine scarring. For women who have had abortions, D & Cs, IUDs and abuse, as well as complications in labor, scarring can cause concerns.
How Do I Know I Have Amenorrhea?
Most women suffer from secondary amenorrhea and will know by the signs mentioned above. There is a disease/syndrome called PCOD or PCOS. The D and the S are for disease / syndrome and the PCO stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian. Anovulation (meaning NOT or without ovulating) and amenorrhea are not the same but anovulation WILL, eventually, cause amenorrhea. PCOS/PCOD are easier to diagnose and overcome. We have more info about these on this site and on Infertility Workshop.
Contrary to popular belief: It is not just about getting a period but keeping your body working properly. The most common misconception is that the end goal is to have a period. Not so! The end goal is to have a good ovulation to bring about a healthy chain of events; including a period at the end. No pun intended.
Doctors and Amenorrhea
What if my doctor(s) don’t know what to do? Most of what we commonly hear from women, desperate for answers, is
- “My doctor told me it is nothing to worry about until I am ready for a family” or
- “Enjoy the missed periods” This one infuriates me. The healthiest thing for a woman is to have 26-30 cycle.
When it comes to your body, it is personal. You have to think through the advice and answers you are given from ANYONE. Yes, that includes from us.
The most common treatment for amenorrhea is for a physician to put you on birth control pills. This is exactly what you do not want to do! The chemical hormones in BCPs will only force your body to bleed which gives you a false hope. It does not encourage ovulation but brutally forces the shedding of the lining, whether there is a lining or not.
Are we saying that shedding the lining is not healthy, no. After a long period of time without shedding it is good to get the uterus contracting. EFAs like Evening primrose or Borage Oil, or herbs like Pennyroyal and Blue Cohosh are excellent choices to make this happen naturally without introducing chemicals to the mix.
What we are saying is that chemical hormones do not like to give over their hormone receptor sites when healthy hormones try to return. It is important to stay as close to nature, since you are not manufactured in a lab but in a “natural setting”.
Overcome Amenorrhea Naturally
How does one overcome amenorrhea naturally?
What brought you to our site, most likely is that someone told you about our natural methods for fertility. As with anything related to fertility we would like to help you investigate diet and supplements which might help with amenorrhea.
- Take the DHEA / Progesterone challenge
- Foods that have been beneficial for Amenorrhea
- Foods to avoid with Amenorrhea.
- Juicing for Amenorrhea can be a great way to get what you need in a few big gulps.
- Supplements for overcoming Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea Diagnostic Tests
The most important step in diagnosing Amenorrhea is having your hormones and cholesterol tests done first. Amenorrhea is most commonly seen in athletes with a low BMI. Therefore, it is important to know how that fat is being used; what little there is.
Having cholesterol checked is a great way to know if you have a high enough level to be effective. Cholesterol will probably be somewhere around 170 and BMI about 20%. These are low for athletes and muscular women.
Saliva Hormone Home Test Kit.
Next, and really equally as important, is to have your hormones checked. FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), E2, Progesterone, Testosterone and DHEA if possible. These can be purchased as a five test kit. We use ZRT hormone testing. Knowing where you fit in with hormone imbalance is key. FSH will tell you if you are nearing menopause early or if your follicle reserves are low, estrogen if you follicles are maturing, progesterone if you have ovulated at all, testosterone – self explanatory and DHEA to see if you have what it takes to manufacture the chain of hormones.
Supplements: PMS Balance, Cycle Balance PLUS, DHEA Creme, Female Hormone Balance and B100 Complex Tests: ZRT Saliva Hormone Home Test Kits and Cholesterol Home Test Kits
The #1 Reason for Spotting:
Hormonal imbalance due to low progesterone.
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