What Amenorrhea Means & When It's A Problem

amenorrhea Aug 02, 2020

What is amenorrhea?

The term ‘amenorrhea’ is used when menstruation is absent…. Ie you don’t have a period. But not having a period isn’t the actual problem 

Let me explain...

Your ‘menstrual cycle’ is the whole monthly process and your ‘period’ is just the part where you bleed. And guess what? Your period is NOT the main event of your menstrual cycle... ovulation is!

When a woman has amenorrhea, it means that she isn’t ovulating…. Because the only way to get your period is to ovulate!

How is amenorrhea diagnosed?

You don’t specifically need to be “diagnosed” with this condition.

The definition of Amenorrhea is a period that is missing for 3 or more months if you previously had a regular cycle, or 6 months or more if your periods were irregular before it went totally missing.

If you fit either of those criteria, then you have amenorrhea.

 

Just a quick note - there are actually two types of amenorrhea. The one I described above is called Secondary Amenorrhea - the key being that there was a period but then it went missing.

If however, a girl is over the age of 15 but has never had a period, this is called Primary Amenorrhea

What about amenorrhea after stopping hormonal birth control?

This is referred to as Post Pill Amenorrhea (regardless of the type of hormonal birth control you were using).

The pill prevents your body from making hormones involved in ovulation and menstruation. When you stop taking the pill, it can take some time for your body to return to normal production of these hormones”  Source

When does Amenorrhea become a health problem?

Remember how I mentioned that not having a period isn’t the actual problem? And that not ovulating is the real problem with amenorrhea?

That’s because ovulation is the only way your body can make Progesterone.

And progesterone is important for your mood, metabolism, bone health, thyroid function, and protecting your uterus & breasts from cancer.

Not ovulating can lead to some long term health concerns which is why you should always seek professional help if you fit the criteria for amenorrhea.

What should I do if I have amenorrhea?

The first step is to confirm that you aren’t pregnant. Take a pregnancy test to rule that out.

Then, the very best thing to do is take action! Don’t just wait and hope for the best because this can really drag out your recovery time with months and months passing without any progress.

There can be different underlying causes of secondary amenorrhea and working with a professional to identify and address these is really important.

I’ve personally overcome post-pill amenorrhea (read more here) and I’ve been working closely with women for over 5 years to help them get their periods back, naturally.

If you’d like the support and guidance from someone who understands how you feel and knows exactly how to help, click here.

 

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