Question: I stopped having my periods two years ago. I have been to several doctors, all of whom run some tests on me but didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give me proper explanations on what is going on in my body. I am married and have two children but would like to have one more. Even though I have not been on contraceptives for the past two years; I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get pregnant. What could the problem be?
Answer: Since you said you have already visited several doctors, we decided to turn to the internet, which has a wealth of information if you know where to look for it. According to www.women.webmd.com, the big question if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not getting your period is Ã¢â‚¬â€ how old are you?
The cause of a missing menstrual period (called amenorrhea) varies by age. To quit having periods at age 25 is a significantly different issue than quitting at age 50.
For a woman in her 20s or 30s who is sexually active,Ã‚Â pregnancyÃ‚Â is always a possibility. On the other hand, women in their 40s or 50s could be inÃ‚Â perimenopauseÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ the period surrounding Ã‚Â menopause. As your ovaries slow their production of oestrogen, your periods come less frequently. Periods also can get shorter or lighter during perimenopause. Once your periods stop for a full 12 months in a row, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in menopause. Ã‚Â The average age for menopause is 51.
Another possible cause of missed periods is excessive exercise. Anywhere from 5% to 25% of female athletes work out so hard that they stop getting their periods. Called exercise-induced amenorrhea, this phenomenon is particularly common among ballet dancers and runners. Intense exercise affects the production and regulation of reproductive hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.
For similar reasons, women who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can also stop getting their period. Severely restricting the amount of calories you eat suppresses the release of hormones your body needs for ovulation.
Other possible causes of missed periods include:
- Thyroid or pituitary gland disorders
- Disorder of the hypothalamus (brain area that assists with reproductive hormone regulation)
- OralÃ‚Â contraceptivesÃ‚Â (although birth control pills will usually just make the periods lighter), stress, and diseases of the womb.