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Do you suffer from Amenorrhoea?

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Article by Lyn Craven

Lyn Craven Profile | Email | Website
Lyn Craven Lyn Craven - ND. DMH. DRM. DBT. DPT. Reg. Trainer Cert IV
Specialising in all Female Health & Reproductive Disorders, Digestive/Bowel problems, Chronic Backache, RSI, carpel tunnel,
Stress management, Natural healthy vision and support for Glaucoma
Corporate Health Consultant - Naturopath
Advanced Bowen Therapist, Reiki/Energy Practitioner
Meditation Facilitator & Freelance writer.
Sydney
Bondi - Sydney
NSW
Australia 2000
0403 231 804

                                   

Amenorrhoea means the absence of the menstrual period and one of the most common causes of amenorrhoea is hormonal disturbance.  Female hormonal cycles can be out of sync for a number of reasons, emotional or physical stress (athletes over training and addicted to gym workouts), disease involving the reproductive system, extreme weight loss and poor diet (malnutrition), to name a few.  Other factors to consider are of course pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause and when the woman has stopped taking the contraceptive pill, often the cycle is completely disrupted and can take a while to re-establish a spontaneous normal regular cycle.

Amenorrhoea is divided into two categories:

  • Primary amenorrhoea - menstruation hasn't begun by 14 years of age and the young woman shows no secondary sexual characteristics (such as developing breasts and pubic hair), or menstruation hasn't begun by 16 years of age, even though the young woman has secondary sexual characteristics.
  • Secondary amenorrhoea - established menstruation has ceased for six months or for a length of time equivalent to a total of at least three of the previous cycle intervals.

The menstrual cycle

The hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain interact with each other to control the menstrual cycle.  The pituitary gland produces chemicals that stimulate the ovaries to produce the two female sex hormones - oestrogen and progesterone.  These hormones thicken the lining of the womb (uterus) to prepare for a possible pregnancy.  When pregnancy doesn't occur, hormone levels drop and the lining of the womb falls away.  This is called a period/menstruation.  The cycle then repeats. 

 

Disorders of the hypothalamus

Disorders of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland or ovaries can disrupt menstruation and bring about amenorrhoea.  A variety of factors can cause the hypothalamus to malfunction and trigger amenorrhoea, including:

  • Emotional stress such as important life events as losing a partner (death or divorce/separation), loss of occupation, financial loss etc.
  •  Weight loss – especially slimming diets, food fads.
  • Excessive physical exercise
  • Some antipsychotic medications (major tranquillisers)
  • Disorders of the endocrine system, such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).
  • Travel i.e. overseas – especially long haul travel crossing the dateline can be disruptive for some women, usually the duration of cessation is not lengthy, long haul travel can interfere with thyroid function, some people gain weight others loose it, usually this is only temporary, but can create an added physiological stress.

Other disorders

Other disorders that can cause amenorrhoea include:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome - the ovaries develop clusters of blister-like cysts. Associated symptoms include irregular periods and hirsutism (excessive hairiness in particular facial hair).
  • Hyperandrogenaemia - the reproductive system is influenced by high levels of male sex hormones.  This can be caused by ovarian or adrenal tumours, or certain congenital disorders.
  • Hyperprolactinemia - an increase of the hormone prolactin caused by overactivity of, or a tumour on, the pituitary gland.
  • Abnormalities of the vagina - such as a sealed hymen, which prevents the menstrual blood from leaving the vagina.  This is a rare condition and symptoms include abdominal distension and delayed start to periods and cyclical abdominal pain.

In some cases a small percentage of women can develop ovarian failure before the age of 40 with symptoms similar to menopause.  This is often referred to as “resistant ovary” or “premature menopause”.  In most cases however these women resume their normal ovarian function and commence menstruating again, so the term “premature menopause” is not a correct diagnosis.  Some of the underlying factors mentioned above would also need to be considered.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing the cause of amenorrhoea depends on a number of tests, including:

  • Pregnancy tests - either urine or blood tests.
  • Physical examination - to determine overall health and the presence of secondary sexual characteristics.
  • Medical history - including gynaecological history and contraceptive methods.
  • Hormone tests - to check the functioning of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and ovaries.
  • Other scans - including CT scans and ultrasounds of the reproductive system.
  • Dietary, Lifestyle and Emotional Assessments

How is Amenorrhoea treated naturally?

From a naturopathic standpoint treatment for amenorrhoea depends on the cause.  If extreme weight loss and excessive exercise are to blame, then treatment will focus on encouraging the woman to maintain a healthier body weight and encourage eating a healthy whole diet that will provide a good mineral and vitamin profile.  Zinc is a very important mineral for the reproductive system and in all cases a zinc screening would be conducted to ascertain any likely deficiencies.  Many women I have seen with reproductive problems appear to be deficient in zinc.  This is often due to fad diets and not fully understanding how to combine various food groups to maintain healthy diet, especially those practicing vegetarianism.  Some young women have no knowledge of how to prepare a healthy meal and resort to eating the same takeaways most days or eating breakfast cereal and biscuits for dinner!  This would certainly create a state of malnutrition where their regular cycles would be affected, not to mention other health disorders manifesting!

 

Herbal and homeopathic remedies would be administered to encourage healthy cycles.  The herbal remedies are not “hormonal” herbs, some herbs have the ability to mimic the action of our body’s own hormonal activity and thereby can encourage the body to work in a balanced healthy way again.

 

An amazing case I had with a client who had, had no cycle in over 12 months received herbs and minerals from me, dietary assessment and a Bowen Treatment, she was scheduled for her 2nd Bowen Treatment the next week and rang me the day before excited saying she had her first period in a year!  She certainly responded very quickly and very well to the overall treatment and remedies!  Continuation of treatment and remedies even when positive results are shown so quickly is important to establish healthy hormonal levels and free up (in the case of Bowen Therapy), stagnation of Chi energy that can and does impede the function of our body’s systems.

 

Some young women I have come across consider it a “blessing” when they cease having their periods and may not investigate what the cause is – often leaving the situation for many months as this young lady did.  However, realisation that improved health is paramount and of course important to establish healthy rhythmic cycles in case conception is a future consideration. 

 

In some cases (as with this lady), bowel problems can be present.  Since both body systems are anatomically so close we sometimes see bowel changes in conjunction with hormonal swings and changes.  If any bacteria or parasites are present in the bowel through constipation and poor bowel habits then if left for many months without the right treatment can sometimes spread infection to organs elsewhere and impede with the function. 

 

Remedies are often taken for a few months, depending on each case – for everyone is unique in their presentation, certainly a minimum of 3 months, but duration should not be the foremost concern, what is important is re-establishing healthy cycles that are pain free and regular.  Natural remedies such as herbs and homeopathics are excellent for assisting in resolving amenorrhoea.  

 

Some women have cycles every 26 days, whilst others may extend to 33 days; this range appears more normal and acceptable with the more common range being 28/29 days.  However, if cycles are shorter or much longer it is recommended that you have an assessment to establish a cyclic range as mentioned here, especially if you wish to conceive.

 

It is always recommended that you do not self-administer since you could compound the problem and you maybe disappointed in the results.  Always see a qualified practitioner and be aware that consistency is the Key, in taking all remedies and dietary changes, this is important and you will then give your body full opportunity to commence working harmoniously for you!


I am available for skype consults for those who live to far away to see me.  I do however incorporate Bowen therapy with all naturopathic consults.  Please call me to arrange a time.

 

Lyn Craven is a Practitioner of Naturopathy, Bowen Therapy, Energy/Reiki Therapist, Meditation Teacher, a Corporate Health Facilitator and Presenter for Health Expos. Lyn is health researcher/writer of health topics for Health magazines and has produced a meditation CD assisting people manage stress.  She runs a private practice in Sydney and can be contacted on 0403 231 804 or lyncraven@bigpond.com  Website: www.lyncravencorporatehealth-naturopath.com

 

 

12 Apr 2014

Article/Information supplied by Lyn Craven

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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