Check-up : Causes of delayed menstration
'B' is a 35-year-old woman who writes from Clarendon. She has not seen her menstruation for three years and is very concerned.
She has visited her gynaecologist and done several tests and treatments, to no avail. She is still not seeing her menstruation, but has been told she can still become pregnant, although she sees no monthly period.
She experiences bellyache, breast tenderness and acne at the time menstruation should occur and now also sees some facial hair growth, but no bleeding occurs. She asks Check Up if she should be worried.
To be truthful, when a young woman has not removed her womb surgically and yet has not seen her menstruation for three years, she should be concerned and her gynaecologist should be able to tell her what is occurring.
Could she be experiencing hormonal imbalance? Does she have polycystic ovarian syndrome? Or a prolactinoma? Or is this lady undergoing premature menopause? The cause of her three-year delay in menstruation can either be surgical, if she underwent an hysterectomy where the womb is surgically removed, or due to hormonal changes in her body, most commonly those mentioned above.
Depression and long standing anxiety can also lead to hormonal changes, which can prevent menstruation for a while. But three years is a long time for depression or anxiety alone to be causing this problem. Some women exercise too much and this can also lead to a prolonged delay in menstruation, which can end with the onset of menopause.
Some causes of delayed menstruation are:
• Excessive weight gain or loss
• Eating disorders
• Increased exercise
• Emotional stress
• Medications such as birth-control methods
• Hormonal problems
• Asherman's syndrome
• Premature ovarian failure
• Surgery, chemotherapy or radiation to the abdomen or pelvis
Healing the body and mind are two ways to help restore a normal cycle when there is no explanation for its loss. Go on a self-improvement programme which includes healthy eating, drinking fluids for proper hydration, exercising, resolution or control of stress and anxiety and getting the proper and needed sleep hours. This might require the help of a therapist if the cause is not physical. Anecdotally, Check Up has read where drinking a lot of beetroot juice is very helpful in restoring and regulating menstruation.
Nonetheless, Check Up suggests that 'B' obtain a second opinion from another gynaecologist. At the very least, she should have some understanding of what is taking place in her body explained to her by a physician.