How long does stress amenorrhea last?

Stress amenorrhea consists of the absence of menstruation due to functional causes and is an increasingly frequent situation. HE esteem that almost 5% of women of childbearing age suffer from it. This percentage is increasing, in part, due to the lifestyle we currently lead.

Stress plays a very important role in our body. and it has a great repercussion both physically and mentally. It alters the levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, so it can affect many parts.

The menstrual cycle occurs thanks to a rather sensitive hormonal balance. In this article, we explain the mechanism by which stress amenorrhea occurs and how to deal with it.

Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea

Stress amenorrhea is actually a specific cause of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea. This name refers to an absence of menstruation caused by a non-structural change in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that plays an important role in the hormone system.

Stress amenorrhea can begin with one or more cycles without menstruation. It may also be that the cycles are increasingly irregular, even if there is some light bleeding. On some occasions, this situation eases as soon as the stress subsides.

However, in many women it can be maintained for two or more years. This is because, in most of them, it is not a specific stressful situation, but rather a general perception. In fact, many patients are not even aware that they live in a stressful way.

Within functional hypothalamic amenorrhea we find two other main types, in addition to that caused by stress. They are those related to strenuous exercise and those caused by weight loss. The problem is that these situations can and often are associated.

Stressed woman in the vehicle.
Stress leads to amenorrhea by altering the hormones connected to the hypothalamus.

Why does stress amenorrhea occur?

Before explaining the mechanism of this pathology, it is important to note that it does not exclusively refer to a stressful situation (such as an exam or a job). The concept of stress goes further.

It can be a permanent state of tension that, as we said before, that person may not even notice. Stress amenorrhea is also associated with conditions such as depression, anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

What happens is that stress activates a hormonal pathway in the body. The result is increased levels of two hormones: cortisol and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CHL). These substances interfere with another hormonal pathway responsible for reproductive hormones.

In this way, cortisol and HLC inhibit gonadotropin-releasing hormone synthesis in the hypothalamus. The latter is part of that circuit through which normal menstrual cycles occur. When inhibited, both ovulation and menstruation are impaired.

This is, minimal levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormone are required for menstruation to occur. When a woman suffers from stress, the blood cortisol values ​​increase, which inhibits the synthesis of the latter. Therefore, the cycle does not occur.

How can stress amenorrhea be resolved?

Stress amenorrhea, as we mentioned at the beginning, can last for years. It is more common in perfectionist women with high levels of self-questioning. Even in those who have problems with diet.

It is a situation that, in the long run, affects the fertility of women. Not only that, it is also associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and pregnancy complications.

Therefore, it is important to treat it and prevent the situation from continuing. It needs to be addressed globallysince everything wait of that woman’s life can affect amenorrhea. For example, sports, diet, work and your relationships with other people.

It is recommended to lead a healthy lifestyle, which includes moderate exercise and a balanced diet. Also, you should take care of your sleep quality and seek good emotional support.

A essay published in the journal Fertility and sterility demonstrated the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy for reducing stress in women. It has achieved good results, as amenorrhea has ceased in a considerable number of patients.

Menstrual cycle and amenorrhea.
Stress-responsive amenorrhea can last for years, unless proper steps are taken to treat it.

to keep in mind

What we have to keep in mind is this Stress amenorrhea is a common ailment due to a hormonal disorder. It can last for years and affect fertility and overall female health.

That is why it is important to treat and deal with it correctly with specialists. You can try therapies that help manage stress. In addition, it is essential to make lifestyle changes, with a complete diet and moderate exercise.

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