If you’re reading this post you most likely are experiencing a loss of period or you want to understand what Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is and why it is important to get your period back. You can check out my video below or read on to hear about HA.
What is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea or HA for short is a type of secondary amenorrhea. The definition of HA is 3 months absence of menstruation. This means at some point you had your period and have lost it. This looks different for everyone. You may have been on birth control pills and tried coming off and never got your period back or you may have just started having really light periods or maybe the duration between periods started to increase more and more until you no longer have a mentrual cycle. In actuality the absence of periods is merely the absence of ovulation in most situations although you can have annovulatory cycles. The bleeding is shedding your lining because pregnancy didn’t occur. I have a lot of experience with this and the science behind it because I went through multiple IVFs ( 5 for my son and 1 for my daughter).
Either way you are probably starting to get concerned with what is going on. Where the hell is my period? What’s going on? One month passes and it seems like no big deal, one less thing to worry about and then more and more time passes and you begin to get nervous. Or maybe your are thinking no big deal it’s so much easier not having a period. For some, it could be a few months, a few years or even for some decades. The good thing is you are looking into trying to recover and that is the first step.
How is it diagnosed and reasons you may have it.
From all the research I have done and the doctors that I spoke to, HA is diagnosed by way of elimination. What this means is that they need to rule out any other cause of hypothalamic amenorrhea. They need to rule out a pituitary tumor, thyroid issues, any scarring or obstruction or some other ailment that is stopping menstruation.
The typical protocol for doctors is they will do some blood work, they may do an ultrasound and some may do an MRI if you have higher Prolactin levels to rule out a tumor. I would recommend getting a full blood panel from your Dr. That would include a full thyroid panel, Estrogen, Progesterone, Lutenizing Hormone(LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH ). A lot of times they may only check Estrogen and FSH and without the key indicator of LH you may lose the opportunity to see improvements.
The doctor will probably try around of Provera. Provera will induce a period in woman that have a lining and some women may get a bleed which usually indicates a less severe case of HA. If you don’t get a bleed don’t stress yourself out. I didn’t either when I was first put on it. If you don’t get a bleed it’s also a good indication you have HA which if your blood work aligns with it and if you can relate to some of the trends below. This is a great thing because it means it is most likely reversible
If you have gone to the Dr, you may have suppressed LH, low estrogen but for some these are on the low to borderline normal..
Women with HA seem to have some of the following trends:
- Disordered eating patterns
- Have lost a significant amount of weight or been on diets
- Have history of restriction
- May be binge eating
- May have cut out certain food groups or macro nutrients-
- Showing signs of overexercising or working out too much
- May be an athlete or dancer but not required
- May extremely active
- Low body fat
- High Stress Levels
If any of these sound like you and you haven’t gone to the Dr, I would go to get some blood work done but hear this you need to make sure you are your own advocate. Most likely the Dr. is going to put you on birth control which will actually suppress your hormones. If you go in there and you have done your research prior to the appointment you will feel equipped to ask for what you need.
Why should you recover?
OK so now you may know that you have HA. You’re thinking why do I need to recover? Periods are a pain. Maybe you aren’t trying to get pregnant right now so it’s not a big deal but HA can cause:
- Cardiovascular disease
- No sex drive
- Mental Health Issues (anxiety/depression)
- Perception of poor quality of life-
- Skin or hair problems
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns! Proud of you for taking the leap to start recovery!