Absence of periods
2 September 2016 | Editor
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Absence of Periods
A loss of periods is called amenorrhoea, a condition that may result from low levels of certain hormones. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful:
- Get enough nutrients - Eat more food or choose a high-calorie supplement if you are underweight, have low body fat, or are an athlete
- Talk to your doctor to see if taking 200 to 300 mg a day of this hormone can help normalise your menstrual function
- Look after your bones - Protect yourself from amenorrhoea-related bone loss by taking 800 to 1,500 of calcium and 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D each day
- Get a check-up - Visit your doctor to find out if your amenorrhoea is the result of a treatable medical problem
- Regulate your workouts - Balance hormone function by avoiding intense or excessive exercise
Introduction about absent periods
Having absent periods either means you have stopped having periods or haven’t started them by the time you are 14-16 years old.
The medical name for absent periods is amenorrhoea.
In many cases, absent periods are not a cause for concern because some girls simply start having periods later than usual and it is normal for your periods to stop at certain points.
For example, your periods will stop while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or after the menopause. Some types of contraception can also cause you to temporarily stop having periods.
However, absent periods can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a condition which can mean your ovaries do not regularly release an egg (ovulate)
- hypothalamic amenorrhoea – where the part of the brain that regulates the menstrual cycle stops working properly (thought to be triggered by excessive exercise, excessive weight loss and stress)
- hyperprolactinaemia – where a person has abnormally high levels of a hormone called prolactin in their blood
- premature ovarian failure – where the ovaries stop working properly in women who have not yet reached the age of natural menopause (usually from 50 years of age)
When to seek medical advice about absent periods
You should see your GP if you're worried about any problems with your periods, so they can try to determine the cause.
Depending on what your GP thinks may be causing your absent periods, you may be referred to a specialist for further investigation and any necessary treatment.
Who is affected by absent periods
Stopping having periods after previously having them, known as secondary amenorrhoea, is relatively common - it's estimated to affect around 1 in 25 women at some point in their lives.
It is more common in teenage girls and younger women, and can be much more common in certain groups, such as professional athletes, dancers and gymnasts.
Not starting your periods by the expected age, known as primary amenorrhoea, is much less common. It's estimated to affect 1 in every 300 girls and women.
How absent periods are treated
The treatment for absent periods will depend on the cause.
For example, PCOS can often be controlled using hormonal treatments, and women with hypothalamic amenorrhoea will often start to have regular periods if they cut down on exercise and reach a healthy weight.
In some cases, your doctors may recommend waiting to see if your periods return or start on their own.
Sometimes your periods cannot be restored with treatment, as is usually the case with absent periods caused by premature ovarian failure.