Amenorrhea is a disorder that involves the menstrual cycle of a woman distinguished by the absence of any menstruation. This condition strikes about two percent to five percent of women in the United States. It can indicate health problems for women who are not going through menopause or for women who are not pregnant.
Types of Amenorrhea
There are two types of amenorrhea:
Primary Amenorrhea – This is a condition in which by the age of 16, a girl still hasn’t experienced any menses.
Secondary Amenorrhea – Women suffering from this type of condition has had at least one normal menstrual cycle. Thereafter, their menstruation has stopped for one reason or another. You may be considered to have secondary amenorrhea if your menses has ceased for a minimum of three months.
Factors that Can Cause Amenorrhea
-Heart disease, nephritis, and tuberculosis
-Anemia, and problems with your ovaries, hypothalamus, or pituitary gland
-Bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders
-Rapid gain or loss of weight
Symptoms of Amenorrhea
The absence of menstruation is the most obvious sign of amenorrhea. Sometimes, though, this condition can be accompanied by other less-prominent symptoms such as:
-Change in sexual drive
-The development of facial hair
-Reduction in breast size
-Secretions from the breasts
Consult with your healthcare provider if you notice a rise in any of these symptoms.
Complications Associated with Amenorrhea
Listed below are some of the reproductive health complications that may arise from amenorrhea.
-PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome: this is a disease in which several cysts form over the ovaries
-Hirsutism: this condition arises when the pituitary gland secretes excess hormone
-Uterine fibroids: this condition causes the development of wart-like growths on the outside or inside the uterine wall
Treatments for Amenorrhea
The type of treatment to be used for amenorrhea depends on the factors that cause the condition.
Western Modes of Treatment (Allopathic Therapy)
-Stress reduction techniques: these help to normalize your menstrual cycle
-Counseling for the treatment of eating disorders
-Dietary therapy: this includes consuming more calories and fat changes to help improve estrogen production.
-Hormonal supplements such as HRT (hormone replacement therapy or birth control patches or pills. These supplements can lead to normal menstruation by regulating the hormones.
Surgery to extract the fibroids or cysts causing amenorrhea
Chinese Medicine for Amenorrhea
The Etiology and Pathology of Amenorrhea from the Viewpoint of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
In TCM, amenorrhea is believed to be a complex pattern that can manifest in a woman, which can be categorized as either conditions of deficiency or excess. When a pattern of deficiency is seen, this means that the “blood” and essence of the patient are insufficient. No blood can be discharged when the ‘Sea of Blood’ is empty. In an “Excess” pattern, blockages have developed in the meridians or energy pathways of the body.
-Dryness of blood
-Deficiency of Blood and/or Qi
-Deficiency of Kidney or Liver Qi
-Blockage caused by phlegm
Amenorrhea can be resolved using several Chinese herbal formulas. If a pattern of deficiency is causing your condition, the herbal remedy to be used is meant to free and supplement the menstruation; if a pattern of excess is the culprit, the herbs used should free the menstruation by clearing the cause of the excess. If other type of illnesses is causing the amenorrhea, we first need to address the main cause of the illness before addressing the amenorrhea itself.
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