Hypothalamic amenorrhea is a condition in which menstruation stops for a several month period due to a hypothalamus problem. Located in the center of the brain, the hypothalamus is the region responsible for controlling reproduction and producing gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
Causes of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
There can be multiple contributors to hypothalamic amenorrhea. Some women with this condition severely restrict their calorie intake, may be under major psychological stress, or exercise more than two to three hours each day. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is more common in women with low body mass index (BMI), as well as athletes. When the brain does not receive proper nutrition, the functions that govern follicle ripening and egg release become impaired.
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Symptoms
Hypothalamic amenorrhea can cause a wide range of symptoms, such as:
- Missed periods
- Extremely light bleeding during menstruation
- Low libido
- Low energy
- Feeling cold often
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anxiety or depression
- Increased hunger
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Treatment
Treatment for hypothalamic amenorrhea typically begins by targeting the underlying causes of the condition. Behavior modification can be helpful by reducing stress levels, decreasing exercise intensity, and falling into a healthy BMI.