Although people don’t talk about it much, getting periods are an important part of life.
Regular periods are a sign of health, and missing more than one may be an indicator of further health issues.
Today we will look at potential causes of missed periods, what to do if you don’t have a period, and some natural ways to address this issue.
What Is Amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation, or in other words “skipping a period”.
If a person who menstruates skips three periods in a row, or has not started menstruation by the time they turn 16 years old, this is considered amenorrhea.
Pregnancy is the most common cause of amenorrhea, however, if it occurs without pregnancy it could indicate hormonal issues or issues with reproductive organs.
Keep reading to learn more about how to recognize amenorrhea, its causes, and natural solutions for it.
Symptoms Of Amenorrhea
In addition to the absence of menstrual periods, other symptoms which may accompany amenorrhea include:
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Loss of hair
- Nipple discharge
- Changes in vision
- Excess facial hair
Types Of Amenorrhea
There are two types of amenorrhea.
The difference is that one occurs when someone doesn’t start menstruating in the first place, the second when someone who has already started their period stops getting it after a period of time.
Keep reading to learn more about the types of amenorrhea and the reasons for them.
1. Primary Amenorrhea
If periods don’t start during puberty, this is primary amenorrhea.
The National Institutes of Health in the US recommends contacting a doctor if periods don’t start by age 16.
Primary amenorrhea is extremely rare and occurs in under 0.1 percent of the population.
What Causes Primary Amenorrhea?
Having a family history of late menstruation is one of the more common reasons for primary amenorrhea.
Other reasons for this condition are related to genetic issues, which can include:
- Müllerian defects, which consist of defects in the uterus and fallopian tubes
- Turner Syndrome, a genetic condition in which one of the X-chromosomes is missing or partially missing
- Androgen insensitivity syndrome, a condition which can lead to higher than average levels of testosterone
- Various intersex conditions, including Swyer syndrome or a mosaic karyotype.
2. Secondary Amenorrhea
Secondary amenorrhea occurs when someone who has already started menstruation stops having periods.
Stopped periods during pregnancy and breastfeeding are normal and healthy, however, if it occurs for other reasons there could be causes for concern.
Missing one period without any other side effects is generally not considered to be enough to call it amenorrhea.
It may, however, be a reason to take a pregnancy test.
However, if your periods are normally regular and you don’t have one for three months, or if your periods are normally irregular and you don’t have one for six months, this could be cause for concern.
What Causes Secondary Amenorrhea?
Some of the reasons why a person may stop having periods include:
- Low Body Mass Index or rapid weight loss
- Serious illness
- Physical stress
- Gynecological disorder
- Some medications
- Health conditions including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian failure, or thalamic pituitary problems
Natural Treatments For Amenorrhea
There are a number of natural ways to address amenorrhea.
In this section, we’ll have a look at a few of them.
1. Address The Underlying Cause
Figuring out the underlying cause of your missed periods is the first step to dealing with them.
If lifestyle factors such as stress levels or lack of exercise are the cause, then taking steps to modify these can help.
When the cause is related to health conditions such as underactive thyroid or PCOS, speak to your naturopathic doctor about accessing treatment for these conditions.
2. Get Enough Vitamin D
There are a number of reasons to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D can serve as a natural solution for chronic fatigue, is a great natural supplement for healthier skin, can help with weight loss, and could play a factor in regulating periods.
A 2015 study in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology found a link between low levels of vitamin D and irregular menstruation.
Because the primary way to get vitamin D is through sunlight, most Canadians who don’t supplement are deficient in vitamin D in winter.
3. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Fluctuations in weight may affect your body’s ability to maintain a regular menstrual cycle.
A 2015 article found links between being overweight or obese, and having an irregular menstrual cycle.
The reason for this is thought to be because of the impact fat cells have on insulin and other hormones.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is evidence being underweight can also cause amenorrhea or irregular menstruation.
4. Get Enough B-Vitamins
There is some evidence taking B complex vitamins may play a role in helping to regulate your period.
One study, from the American Journal of Epidemiology, notes that good levels of vitamin B6, in particular, played a role in the probability of conception and lower pregnancy loss.
B-vitamins may also help to manage premenstrual symptoms.
Book An Appointment With Annex Naturopathic
Are you experiencing issues related to your menstrual cycle?
Have you noticed your cycle has become irregular, or have you stopped menstruating altogether and can’t figure out exactly why.
Or maybe your PMS symptoms are becoming difficult to manage, such as high levels of anxiety, trouble sleeping, or debilitating headaches.
Whatever the issues you’re experiencing, Annex Naturopathic can help.
Issues related to your menstrual cycle can be worrying, but we will help you take control of them.
We will work with you to determine the underlying cause of your issues, and offer natural solutions to help get you feeling healthy again.
Contact Annex Naturopathic today for more information or to book an appointment.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Marnie Luck, N.D
Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND