In case you are wondering what secondary amenorrhea is, you should know that it refers to the situation when a woman has been having her periods normally, and then they stopped for at least 6 months. Amenorrhea refers to the situation when a woman stops having her periods.
Causes of amenorrhea that is secondary
You should know that the women who are breastfeeding, pregnant or in menopause aren’t considered to be affected by amenorrhea. It is possible for the women taking contraception pills to be faced with the condition. Even if they stop taking the pills, the periods might not return for another 6 months.
There are some risk factors regarding amenorrhea that is secondary. Women are more likely to be affected by it if they are obese, have a lot of exercise for long periods of time, have little body fat, suffer from emotional distress or anxiety and lose a lot of weight very fast.
There are chances of being affected by secondary amenorrhea if the patient has brain tumors, ovarian failure, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or thyroid dysfunction.
Some medications could also cause amenorrhea, such as busulfan, chlorambucil, chemotherapy drugs, phenothiazines, and cyclophosphamide.
Some of the procedures can cause amenorrhea that is secondary too, such as D&C that could result in the formation of scar tissue that stops periods. It is known as Asherman’s syndrome. Pelvic infections could lead to scarring as well.
As it has been mentioned before, the symptoms of secondary amenorrhea include not having periods for at least 6 months. It is also possible to observe some changes regarding the breast size, weight changes, headaches, discharge from the breasts, hair growth, acne, voice changes and vaginal dryness.
If the amenorrhea that is secondary is caused by pituitary tumor, then the symptoms include other ones as well that are specific for the tumor, including loss of vision.
Tests and exams
The first thing that the doctors do is to have a manual pelvic exam to make sure that the patient isn’t pregnant. Also in case of secondary amenorrhea it is common to have a pregnancy test. There are blood tests performed too to check the levels of different hormones.
These hormones include estradiol, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, prolactin, testosterone, and thyroid stimulating hormone. There are some other tests too in case of amenorrhea that is secondary, such as CT scans, genetic testing, endometrial biopsy, ultrasound or hysterosonogram and MRI.
Just as in case of other conditions, the treatment depends greatly on the cause of the amenorrhea. In the majority of the cases the monthly periods return once the cause is treated. As an example, if the problem is caused by hyperthyroidism, then the treatment includes taking thyroid supplements.
Usually the outlook depends on the cause of amenorrhea. The good news regarding secondary amenorrhea is that in the majority of the cases the cause of the problem responds to treatment. This is why it is so important to find the underlying cause of the problem first.