The term amenorrhea means the absence of menstruation. The lack of menstruation happens when a woman does not have her period for more than three months.
Symptoms of Amenorrhea in Teens
Nipple discharge: In women, the symptoms of amenorrhea include discharge from the nipples. This can be either white or clear and can occur with or without breast tenderness. The discharge may be thin or thick and can contain blood.
Hair loss: Another common symptom of amenorrhea is hair loss, which usually starts on the head and then travels to other parts of the body. The hair may be dry and brittle and may fall out in clumps.
Headache: Many teenage girls experience headaches as a result of their menstrual cycle, but this symptom can also indicate an underlying condition such as low iron levels or anemia that needs medical attention.
Acne: Amenorrhea may also cause hormonal changes that result in acne breakouts. The hormone estrogen levels drop during this time, which leaves skin more susceptible to acne and other skin disorders. Hormonal changes can also cause hair growth in unusual places, such as on the chest or face, which may be painful for some teens.
Vision changes: To make up for missing ovulation every month, your body produces higher levels of testosterone than usual during this time of your cycle (menstruation). This can cause vision problems.
Pelvic pain: Some women experience pelvic pain that is similar to menstrual cramps. The pain may be worse during physical activity, such as running or playing sports.
Causes of Amenorrhea in Teens
Stress: Stress can lead to premature release of eggs from the ovaries, which results in delayed menstruation in some females.
Hormonal imbalance: This is usually caused by an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels, which can lead to loss of normal menstrual cycles and amenorrhea. Some of the common medical problems that can lead to hormonal imbalance include thyroid malfunction and pituitary tumor.
Medication usage: Certain medications such as antidepressants and other antipsychotic medications can also cause loss of normal menstrual cycles and amenorrhea.
Dietary deficiency: A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can cause amenorrhea in teenagers. Some of the most common deficiencies include iron, zinc, folic acid, vitamin D, and calcium. If your teen has low levels of these vitamins or minerals, it can cause her to have irregular periods.
Other causes of amenorrhea are low body weight, excessive exercise, and structural problems like uterine scarring and vaginal abnormality.
Treatments of Amenorrhea
The first step in treating amenorrhea is to determine if there is a medical cause. A doctor may need to do a physical examination, blood tests, and imaging studies (such as ultrasound or x-ray) to find out whether the problem has originated elsewhere in the body. The doctor may also order other tests for any other conditions that may be causing the symptoms.
If an underlying illness is found, it will likely be treated with medication and dietary changes.
Depending on the cause of amenorrhea, the treatment can include treating eating disorders, changes in diet or exercise, treating hormone imbalance, and treating thyroid disorder.
If you or your daughter is noticing the symptoms of amenorrhea, please consult a specialist doctor. Reach out to them, discuss the symptoms and start the treatment process.