Your period is missing! Where and why did it go? When will it come back? And why is this bothering you so much when you’ve wished countless times for your period to go away?
Anyone who has experienced Amenorrhea knows about the anxiety caused by the sudden disappearance of our friend who usually visits every month. I mean, how dare that biatch just dip out on you when she’s accompanied you (without invitation!) to so many dances, dates, beach weekends, and final exams?
Amenorrhea isn’t a disease, curse, or illness, but rather a symptom of something else going on within your body. Finding out exactly what is behind your Amenorrhea can sometimes be tricky because it can be an indicator of many different issues.
Causes of Amenorrhea
1. Hormone Imbalances Can Cause Irregular Periods
For the most part hormonal imbalances are behind the majority of Amenorrhea cases. Typically, the hormonal imbalance associated with amenorrhea is low estrogen or a combination of low estrogen and low progesterone.
When a woman’s estrogen and/or progesterone are too low, her body is unable to build up the uterine lining and subsequently shed that uterine lining each month (aka your period).
What exactly is causing this kind of hormonal imbalance can be one or a number of things. These are some of the top contributors:
- Hormonal Birth Control (especially the pill)
- Quitting Hormonal Birth Control (Post-Pill Amenorrhea)
- Eating Disorders like anorexia or bulimia
- Exercising too much (CrossFit 5 times a week anyone?
- Mental and emotional stress
- Low body weight
- Low thyroid function (hypothyroid)
- Early-onset menopause (before age 40) caused by premature ovarian failure
Additionally, a woman might have an issue where her body is producing too much testosterone, a male sex hormone. High testosterone can actually prevent or significantly delay ovulation each month, which causes periods to become irregular or disappear completely. This problem is commonly diagnosed as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
To test your hormones I recommenced using Lets Get Checked. You can grab their Female Hormone Test to see if your estrogen levels are the cause of your missing period. Or get your Testosterone Tested if you feel this is a concern. Be sure to use code Hormones20 to get 20% off the price of the test.
2. Structural And Genetic Issues Can Lead To Amenorrhea
These issues usually require more than just food and lifestyle changes. Primary Amenorrhea, which means you’ve never had a period and you are 16 years or older, is the biggest indicator of the problems or conditions below. I recommend that you see a doctor to determine the cause as soon as possible.
- Asherman’s Syndrome – uterine scarring or adhesions, which can prevent blood from exiting the uterus.
- Pituitary tumor – which causes high levels of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin suppresses ovulation and menstruation.
- Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome – under-developed reproductive organs or a lack of them.
- Other genetic structural abnormalities
3. Medications That Can Cause Your Period To Disappear
You know all those scary side effects that most medications list? Well, sometimes those lists include missing your monthly cycle. Here are some meds that commonly cause Amenorrhea:
- Hormonal Birth Control
- Blood pressure medicines
- Allergy Medications
4. Natural Reasons Your Period Has Gone Missing
Our body progresses through natural phases and cycles where sometimes Amenorrhea is completely expected, so no need for alarm bells! These include:
- Peri-menopause and menopause
Why You Need Your Period
Many women tell me that not having a period is a blessing or they don’t want kids so why should they care about whether they have a period or not. My response is this: Regardless of whether you want children or not, it is imperative to understand that your menstrual health is reflective of your overall health. If your period is missing or irregular, something deeper is going on that you need to look at.
There are also many physical and emotional symptoms associated with Amenorrhea that are no fun.
Symptoms of Amenorrhea:
- Acne – sometimes more than when you were a teenager
- Hair loss on your head or hair growth on your face
- A low or non-existent sex drive
- Or worse… when you do have sex, it hurts like hell
- Low or no fertile cervical fluid – yes, sometimes your underwear can be too clean
- Your energy is so low you can’t get out of bed easily or even get through the day without caffeine or sugar
- Depression or mood swings that disrupt your relationships and your life
If you have not had a period for more than three months and you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, I highly recommend seeing your doctor to determine the exact cause.