Have you ever had a feeling that maybe something wasn’t quite right with your period? Maybe your cycle length changes?

Or does it seem like you must be experiencing more pain than other do? Perhaps you’re concerned about how much you bleed?

All of these are very valid questions and, if you have concerns, are well-worth looking into. In this post are some of the common causes of irregular or absent periods.

Absence of Periods – Amenorrhoea

If you aren’t having your period, or are having irregular periods, you may have amenorrhoea.

  • Primary amenorrhoea means you haven’t ever had a period. For young women over the age of 16, this is something that needs further investigation by a medical professional. It’s not something that will be covered here.
  • Secondary amenorrhoea is the absence of periods when you used to have them. For this type of amenorrhoea, the following factors come into play.

Pause on your Period – Pregnancy

More obvious if you usually have periods and then stop. But what if something else is in play?

Say you’ve just come off the pill and fall pregnant following your first ovulation – which happens.

You might start being concerned about the lack of your period starting so make sure to investigate this potential cause.

Menopause Transition

If you are older, you may be entering perimenopause, which is the transitional phase before menopause.

There is no set age for this, but it is likely to occur after the age of 40. Family groups have similar onsets so ask your mother or older sisters when they stopped having periods and you can expect a similar age for yourself.

Probably not the cause for younger women.

Stress or Illness

Stress and illness can put a pause on your period – thanks to your hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is the centre for hormone production, and it chooses to temporarily supress your reproductive cycle when life is too stressful.

This is your body trying to give you as many resources as it can so you can survive whatever is stressing you. 

Undereating

This cause, undereating, is very similar to the above as it is another stress for your body.

The hypothalamus doesn’t think your eating is enough for you, let alone you and a potential baby, so it hits pause and prioritises other things.

For all your hypothalamus knows there is a famine. You need to be eating enough to keep up with your daily activities.

Medical Conditions

Having looked at all these reasons and ruled them out there are a few other things you need to consider.

Gluten sensitivity, including Celiac disease, and thyroid disease can both lead to amenorrhoea.

There are other symptoms than amenorrhoea with these conditions and they need further medical investigation for a diagnosis.

Ruth Griffiths

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