Your period is missing! Where and why did it go? When will it come back? Why is this bothering you so much when you’ve wished countless times for your period to go away anyways?
Anyone who has experienced Amenorrhea knows about the anxiety caused by our friend who usually visits every month, suddenly going M.I.A. Additionally, your doctor (or even worse – the Internet) might be further confusing things with all the different reasons why Aunt Flo is no longer dropping in on a monthly basis.
I mean, how dare she just dip out on you when she’s accompanied you (without invitation!) to so many dances, dates, beach weekends, and final exams?
Amenorrhea isn’t a disease, curse, or illness, but rather a symptom of something else going on with your body. Finding out exactly what is behind your Amenorrhea can be tricky because it can be an indicator of a number of different issues. The following are some of the top causes of Amenorrhea and one of them is likely the reason your period is missing.
For the most part, hormonal imbalances are behind the majority of Amenorrhea cases. Typically, the hormonal imbalance associated with amenorrhea is low estrogen or a combination of low estrogen and low progesterone.
When a woman’s estrogen and/or progesterone are too low, her body is unable to build up the uterine lining and subsequently shed that uterine lining each month (aka your period).
What exactly is causing this kind of hormonal imbalance can be one or a number of things. These are some of the top contributors:
- Hormonal Birth Control (especially the pill)
- Quitting Hormonal Birth Control (Post-Pill Amenorrhea)
- Eating Disorders like anorexia or bulimia
- Exercising too much (CrossFit 5 times a week anyone?)
- Mental and emotional stress
- Low body weight
- Low thyroid function (hypothyroid)
- Early-onset menopause (before age 40) caused by premature ovarian failure
Additionally, a woman might have an issue where her body is producing too much testosterone, a male sex hormone. High testosterone can actually prevent or significantly delay ovulation each month, which causes periods to become irregular or disappear completely. This problem sometimes co-exits with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Structural and Genetic Issues
These issues usually require more than just food and lifestyle changes. If you have any of these problems or conditions, chances are that you already know it. For instance, if you are experiencing Primary Amenorrhea, which means you’ve never had a period and you are 16 years or older, then one of these might apply to you and you should see a doctor to determine the cause.
- Asherman’s Syndrome – uterine scarring or adhesions, which can prevent blood from exiting the uterus.
- Pituitary tumor – which causes high levels of the hormone prolactin. Prolactin suppresses ovulation and menstruation.
- Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome – under-developed reproductive organs or a lack of them.
- Other genetic structural abnormalities
You know all those scary side effects that most medications list? Well, sometimes those lists include missing your monthly cycle. Here are some meds that commonly cause Amenorrhea:
- Hormonal Birth Control
- Blood pressure medicines
- Allergy Medications
Our body progresses through natural phases and cycles where sometimes Amenorrhea is completely expected, so no need for alarm bells! These include:
- Peri-menopause and menopause
Many women tell me that not having a period is a blessing or they don’t want kids so why should they care about whether they have a period or not. My response is this: Regardless of whether you want children or not, it is imperative to understand that your period health is reflective of your overall health. If your period is missing or irregular, something deeper is going on that you need to look at.
There are also many physical and emotional symptoms associated with Amenorrhea that are no fun. These include:
- More acne than you’ve ever experienced in your life!
- Hair loss on your head or hair growth on your face (oh the injustice of it all)
- Your sexy underwear stays in your drawer thanks to a non-existent sex drive
- Or worse… when you do have sex, it hurts like hell
- Low or no fertile cervical fluid – yes, sometimes your underwear can be too clean
- Your energy is so low you can’t get out of bed easily or even get through the day without caffeine or sugar
- Depression or mood swings that disrupt your relationships and your life
If you have not had a period for more than three months and you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, I recommend seeing your healthcare professional to determine the exact cause.
In the meantime, if you want to be highly educated on all of the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle and how important it is to your health (and all of the things that can cause it to be off – or nonexistent!), I highly recommend you sign up for Nicole Jardim’s free 3-part video series, Bring Back Your Period & Regulate Your Cycle. Nicole is one of our star students here at The Integrative Pelvic Health Institute. In her program, she will debunk the myths around your period (and why it’s missing!) and cover her top solutions to help you address your Amenorrhea along with the symptoms associated with it.
Nicole Jardim is a Young Women’s Hormonal Health Coach and creator of Fix Your Period, a series of programs that empower women to reclaim their hormonal health in a fun and sassy way. She runs a successful 1-on-1 and group coaching business and has helped thousands of women around the world overcome PCOS, infertility, amenorrhea, PMS and much more.
Rather than treating symptoms, Nicole treats women by addressing the root cause of what’s really going on in their bodies. She passionately believes that the fundamentals to healing hormonal imbalances lie in an approach that addresses the unique physiology of every woman. To learn more, get her free 3-part video training series, Take Control of Your Period, Take Control of Your Life.