February 26, 2008

Primary And Secondary Amenorrhea

Posted in Category : Women's Health

There are a number of reasons for irregular or missed periods once in awhile. You could be suffering from stress or may have changed your exercise routine and this can translate into a missed period. But what happens if you skip your periods regularly? Known as amenorrhea this absence of menstrual periods can be classified into two types – primary and secondary amenorrhea.

Primary amenorrhea refers to the condition where a girl of 16 has not started her menstrual cycle. Secondary amenorrhea on the other hand is the absence of three consecutive periods or regularly missed periods within a period of six months in a woman who has previously started her menstrual cycle.

Causes of Amenorrhea

If your daughter is 14 and shows no other signs of puberty, or is 16 and has not started menstruating, contact your doctor at the earliest. Once pregnancy or menopause has been ruled out as the cause for a woman not menstruating, other causes of amenorrhea can include:

  • Hypothalamic problems that affect the production of hormones and the functioning of the pituitary gland that is in charge of a normal menstrual cycle
  • Missed periods are often an early sign of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia
  • Strenuous exercise or a change in your exercise routine can also affect the hormones and menstrual cycle. Professional athletes often suffer from an absence of menstrual periods.
  • Primary amenorrhea can be the result of genetic defects where the reproductive organs may fail to function properly such as with Turner Syndrome and androgen insensitivity
  • A condition known as Gonadal dysgenesis is one of the most common causes of primary amenorrhea in girls. In this condition, there is a premature failure of the ovaries along with a depletion of follicles and egg cells necessary for a normal menstrual and reproductive cycle.
  • Medical conditions that may cause secondary amenorrhea include tumors, hypothyroidism, PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and Asherman’s disease (scarring of the lining of the uterus)
  • Cessation of oral contraceptive pills may cause a disruption of the menstrual cycle.
  • Other possible causes for amenorrhea include infections of the uterus, birth defects, cystic fibrosis, hyperprolactinemia, obesity, breastfeeding and hermaphroditism.

Treatment for Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea should be treated as a serious condition and requires immediate medical attention. Your doctor may recommend medications or hormone therapy to treat hormonal imbalance or surgery to correct any anatomic abnormalities.

In cases of secondary amenorrhea, if the cause of amenorrhea is not serious, you can experiment with home remedies and natural treatments to resume a regular menstrual cycle. These include:

  • Drink a glass of fresh tomato juice everyday to regulate your menstrual cycle.
  • Before sleeping drink a glass of milk with a pinch of cinnamon to help stimulate menstruation. Alternatively you could add a teaspoon of fenugreek powder to the milk for the same results.
  • Sip on ginger tea during the day to stimulate the reproductive system and encourage the onset of menstruation.
  • A popular home remedy for amenorrhea is to boil a cup of water with about six grams of flax seeds. Sip on this concoction during the day to regulate your cycle.
  • A proper balanced diet can also help regulate your menstrual cycle. Ensure that you add iron-rich foods such as liver, soy, green leafy vegetables and seafood to reduce the risk of anemia and treat amenorrhea. Excessive weight gain and obesity can be controlled with a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are underweight, add foods that are high in protein but low in fat for safe weight gain.
  • If stress or depression is the cause of your missed periods, try yoga or meditation to help reduce stress and anxiety and balance out the hormones. There are specific yoga poses such as Surya Namaskar, Lotus Pose, Bow Pose, Plough Pose, Cobra Pose and Locust Pose that can help improve the functioning of the reproductive system.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001218.htm