Amenorrhea is the absence or delay of a menstrual period, according to the National Institutes on Health. Amenorrhea is rarely the result of a serious medical condition. Missed or late periods can occur as the result of excessive exercise or weight loss. Amenorrhea can be a scary experience for women previously on a consistent menstrual cycle. When treated early, amenorrhea as the result of weight loss can be treated. Always consult your doctor if you are experiencing amenorrhea.
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What is Amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea means the absence of your usual menstrual cycle. There are two types of amenorrhea, according to the National Institutes on Health. Primary amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation after the age of 16. Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman has already begun menstruating and stops. Secondary amenorrhea occurs in only 4 percent of the United States population. Other symptoms may include headaches, weight loss or gain, acne, voice changes, cramping without bleeding, increase hair growth and changes in breast size. Drastic weight loss, eating disorders, pregnancy, stress, hormonal imbalances and overexercising are all reasons for the absence of periods.
Low body weights are a common reason for late or missed periods, according to MayoClinic.com. Drastic weight loss causes a disturbance in your hormonal functions. This can halt menstruation. Women with eating disorders and those who diet poorly frequently find themselves with delayed or absent periods. Vigorous exercise can also create changes in your menstrual cycle. Excessive exercise for weight loss or training, including ballet, running and gymnastics, also produce irregular periods. Decreased body fat, poor diet, stress and heavy exercise can halt periods.
Proper diet and exercise can help get your menstrual cycles back on track, according to the National Institutes on Health. If you have drastically lost weight, a proper diet is strongly recommended. You should be eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. If you are exercising too much, cut back on your exercise program and engage in the recommended exercise guidelines. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week. If you miss three periods in a row, you need to consult your physician.
Excessive exercise and weight loss can lead to more than just a late period. If this condition is ignored it can lead to a serious health problem. The female athlete triad is classified by missed periods, disordered eating and osteoporosis, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. You can develop one of all three portions of the female athlete triad. This condition occurs usually in female athletes who develop an intense fear of weight gain and want to excel in their sports. Girls typically avoid foods that they believe are bad and over-exercise. In addition to missed or late periods, girls can increase their risk of stress fractures and other injuries. This disorder needs to be treated by a physician. Coaches, family, physical therapists, nutritionists and mental health specialists may all help in the treatment of the female athlete triad.