It is normal to not have a period while pregnant, while breastfeeding, and after menopause. The menstrual cycle is closely linked to levels of body fat. Women who lose a great deal of weight very quickly may stop getting their menstrual periods, a condition known as amenorrhea. This condition occurs most often in women who have a very low body-fat percentage, such as high-performance athletes (for example, long-distance runners), dancers, and women suffering from anorexia. Women who stop taking oral contraceptives may also experience a cessation of periods due to the body’s hormonal fluctuations. Other causes include hormonal abnormalities, such as thyroid disease. Young women who have reached the age of 16 without starting to menstruate may be too thin and usually will begin menstruating once they gain adequate body weight.
While the absence of menstrual periods may seem convenient, it can contribute to certain health conditions, including loss of bone density, which increases a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
Signs and Symptoms
- Absence of menstruation for six months or longer in a non-pregnant adult woman
- Not having had a menstrual period by the age of 16
Conventional Medical Treatment
If you are 16 or older and have not yet had your first period, or if you are an adult whose periods have stopped, visit your gynecologist or primary care physician. The doctor can perform a physical and a pelvic examination to look for any irregularities that could be causing the condition. To confirm diagnosis, the physician takes a blood test and/or X-rays.
If rapid weight loss caused your amenorrhea, you will be advised on how to lose weight at a more gradual pace-usually one or two pounds per week. In underweight women, a weight gain of as few as five pounds can often reinitiate menstruation. Athletes may be directed to reduce their weekly workout schedules by a few hours and add more calories to their daily diet. Women who have ceased ovulating after going off the pill may be given an oral dose of hormones to prompt the body to ovulate.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Nutrition and Supplementation
If you’re underweight, eat at least 500 calories more than you are currently getting on a daily basis. Be sure these are healthy foods, not junk, processed, or highly refined. Also be sure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet. Hormones cannot be produced without dietary fat. Over-exercising is another cause of amenorrhea Supplement your diet with vitamin A (10,000 IU daily) to help regulate hormone production.
Saffron – Boil some strands of saffron with one cup of water. Once the quantity of water reduces to half cup remove from flame and allow to cool. Drink of this water every day for an whole week. This will treat loss of periods in women.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture may be very useful for treating amenorrhea, but requires a full diagnosis. The practitioner typically focuses on the uterus, adrenal gland, ovary, kidney, and internal secretion points in the ear, by stimulating circulation and regulating the body’s production of estrogen.
Acupressure targeting Conception Vessel, Bladder, Governing Vessel, Stomach, Spleen may help remedy amenorrhea by improving the flow of chi and blood through the pelvic area and uterus.
Chinese Herbal Therapy The practitioner may recommend over-the-counter preparations, including Tang Gui Four, White Phoenix Pills, Rehmannia Six, or Ginseng and Tang Gui Ten. Usually, this condition is due to weakness, so be sure to eat a variety of grains and vegetables; organic calves liver also is recommended. A practitioner may also recommend using a hot water bottle (not a heating pad) on the abdomen twice a day for half an hour.
Stop Taking Birth Control Pills – If you are taking birth control in order to prevent pregnancy, then amenorrhea may occur by taking these pills. You must stop taking birth control pills which most likely stop the amenorrhea, although regular periods may not return for several months.