Overview Of Stress Amenorrhea In Women
A stress related health issue is stress amenorrhea. Amenorrhea is specific to women, and it occurs when menstruation stops because of physical or mental stress. According to the book Amenorrhea written by Oliver Chukwujekwu Ezechi, Amenorrhea, was seen in 5%-20% of women of reproductive age.In the human body the endocrine system, with the help of accessory glands, secrete hormones into the bloodstream. Certain glands in the brain secrete specific hormones to maintain homeostasis. When a woman menstruates, it’s because the pituitary gland produced follitropin and luteinizing hormone. These hormones work together promote ovulation and stimulate the ovaries to release oocytes (eggs). When the egg that is released from the ovary is not fertilized, it causes a drop in the level of hormones that maintain the endometrium. Due to this, the lining of the endometrium sheds as menstrual flow preparing for the next cycle. In a patient suffering from stress amenorrhea, stress hinderss the function of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a portion of the brain that is linked to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland. The pituitary controls specific glands and the ovaries; they all work together to manage hormones.
Dysfunction in any of the above may result in failure of initiation or continuation of menstruation.Stress amenorrhea can be separated into two forms. Primary amenorrhea is when a teenage girl has not had her first menstrual period by her late teens, roughly 17years old. Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman who has been having normal menstrual cycles stops getting her periods for 6 months or longer.
Consequences of stress amenorrhea are infertility, acne, and weight gain. Infertility is a consequence because of irregular menstrual cycle or not having a cycle at all. Without the release of the egg, the rate of conception is little to none. Acne and weight gain are consequences because they are related to hormone imbalances. According to Stress: From burnout to Balance written by Vinay V. Joshi, treatments for stress amenorrhea depend on the cause. For instance, if it’s a hormonal issue, a doctor might prescribe supplemental hormones or if stress is the root of the problem a doctor may recommend positive coping skills or a stress-management class.
Although amenorrhea may be a difficult thing to deal with, it is a normal feature in prepubertal, pregnant, lactating and postmenopausal women and should be excluded before diagnosis. Patients not included in these categories should be correctly diagnosed to prevent lasting effects on women’s health. According to the article, “Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea and its influence on women’s health” written by B. Meczekalski and K. Katulski, women’s health is disrupted in several ways. Patients suffering from amenorrhea are more prone to experiencing depression and anxiety affecting their mental health.Patients also reported having weaker bones than healthier patients. Weakened bones can lead to osteoporosis in where the bones become riddled with holes taking a toll on the skeletal system. A patient diagnosed with amenorrhea may experience abnormal changes in fat content and malfunctioned epithelial cells. These complications are linked to the cardiovascular system. Fat can be tested to analyze the level of specific lipids in the blood to help assess someone’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Endothelial dysfunction is an issue associated with the thin membrane that lines the heart and blood vessels. Making sure to have these complications under control is very important because if left untreated they can cause further damage to the body.
Before conducting the research on amenorrhea, I was aware that stress can cause health issues but I was unaware of amenorrhea specifically.
I chose to write about this disease because I wanted to make other women aware and let them know that irregular or missed periods may be a sign of a more serious health problem like hormone imbalances and cardiovascular disease. Although this illness may be difficult to deal with, I found comfort in knowing it is treatable and even normal in some instances (pregnancy, menopause). I am glad I chose this topic because I was able to gain knowledge that I can pass on to my fellow classmates and let them know they are not alone in dealing with amenorrhea. Women endure a lot overall but even more so in the health aspect (pregnancy/giving birth, menopause) and after investigating this sickness it made me more mindful of how strong women really are.
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