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15 causes for missed periods or amenorrhea

Which of these following reasons are responsible for your missing periods?

Written by Debjani Arora |Updated : November 20, 2015 7:11 PM IST

Amenorrhea, in lay man s term, simply means missing periods in women. There are various reasons that could lead to amenorrhea physiological, genetic, hormonal or deteriorating health. However, there are also ways in which you can try to regularise delayed menstruation. This condition is broadly classified into two categories primary and secondary amenorrhea.

Primary amenorrhea

Primary amenorrhea is identified as a condition in young adolescent girls who have not yet experienced their first period up till age 16, that is, even after hitting puberty.

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1. Underdeveloped sexual organs: Sometimes a genetic defect or damages during fetal development could lead to amenorrhea in young girls. Malfunctioning ovaries or poorly formed reproductive organs can come in the way of menstruation. A defect in the reproductive system could mean that some part of the system like the cervix, vagina or the uterus didn t form, so the physiological process of menstruation didn t take place at the right time. Devoid of any health conditions many girls still face the problem of missing periods, here is why?

2. Problems in the central nervous system: A malfunctioning pituitary gland, which controls most of the hormonal functions of the body can delay or mess up one s menstrual cycle. Moreover, an injury to the brain or the spinal cord could also be a reason for primary amenorrhea in young girls.

3. Other physiological problems: Exertion due to participation in sports that involve excessive exercise; eating disorders, extreme physical and mental stress or a combination of all these factors can contribute to be a cause of missing periods or primary amenorrhea in young girls.

Most of the time, medical intervention becomes necessary to treat this kind of a condition as it needs proper evaluation; however, in many cases of primary amenorrhea, an exact cause for the condition is not known. Apart from missing periods, there are times when you should meet your gynecologist, here are few valid reasons to book an appointment.

Secondary amenorrhea

This condition is associated with women who suffer from missing periods due to some gynecological troubles, complications of medications, malfunctioning glands or hormonal disturbance. Secondary amenorrhea is seen in women who had been menstruating normally and now suffer from missing period due to one or the other condition mentioned here.

Natural causes: The only time in a woman s life when missing period seems normal is during:

4. Pregnancy: During pregnancy fetus grows and develops inside the womb, which means the uterus lining doesn t shed and this prohibits menstruation. In fact, missing periods at times can indicate that you could be pregnant. Read to know about the other signs of pregnancy too.

5. Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding on the other hand helps the new mother delay menstruation and an imminent pregnancy. In other words, it works as a natural method of family planning by delaying menstruation.

6. Menopause: Menopause is the phase that is marked with total absence of menstruation. Here are other signs of menopause you should be aware of.

Gynecological problems: Sometimes certain health issues can also disrupt normal menstrual cycles and become a cause for secondary amenorrhea, these are due to:

7. PCOS: Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a condition that affects ovulation. In this condition, the woman s body produces more androgens than usual, which gives rise to fluid-filled sacs inside the ovaries and interferes with the release of the eggs. Women suffering from PCOS either suffer from amenorrhea or have irregular periods. This condition also affects a woman s fertility to a great extent. Know why PCOS is becoming a rising concern among women of reproductive age.

8. Early menopause: In general, women hit menopause around age 50, but in some rare cases the ovaries can stop producing eggs as early as 40, which can again be a probable cause of missing periods.

Hormonal problems: Fluctuations in hormonal levels or malfunctioning of important glands in the body can also lead to this condition; some common causes of hormonal imbalances leading to secondary amenorrhea are:

9. Thyroid malfunction: An overactive or underactive thyroid gives rise to hormonal disorders that could lead to delayed, irregular or absence of periods.

10. Malfunctioning pituitary gland: A tumour or any other malfunction in the pituitary gland can interfere with hormone regulation and secretion that can disturb the menstrual pattern in a woman. In most cases, it leads to missing period or irregular periods.

Medications and treatments: Missing period could also be a side-effect of certain medications or an outcome of some medical procedure or treatments, like:

11. Contraceptives: Many women complain of delayed or missing periods after discontinuing birth control pills. At times intra-uterine devices can also lead to amenorrhea, though in rare cases. Other medications like antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and allergy pills can also be a probable cause. Here are five myths and facts about birth control pills you need to know.

12. Treatments and procedures: Uterine scarring that can happen after a medical procedure like C-section or following a procedure for uterine fibroids, that leads to tissue scarring and build up inside the uterus, can hamper the normal process of shedding of the uterine lining. Extreme treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can also lead to secondary amenorrhea.

Lifestyle factors: Sometimes lifestyle issues can also influence one s body in a negative way and result in missing periods. Some of the factors that can lead to amenorrhea are:

13. Body weight: Low body weight along with low body fat percentage is one common lifestyle-related issue that can give rise to this condition. This can disrupt ovulation and menstrual cycle.

14. Stress: Stress can make the hormonal cycles go haywire giving rise to many physiological and psychological problems, amenorrhea is just one of them.

15. Hormone deficiency: Sometimes missing period could also be due to a deficiency of hormone namely, leptin, which regulates appetite and hormone.

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