Two Reasons Why You Stopped Having Your Period

Although they can be bothersome, people who have periods generally get used to having them around. So it can be a significant source of concern when menstruation suddenly ceases unexpectedly and seemingly without cause. Here are two reasons why you may not be having periods anymore and what can be done about it:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Missed or absent periods is one symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome. This is a hormonal disorder characterized by excess male hormones and an imbalance in your metabolism. The cause of this disorder is unknown, but it affects as many as 8 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age has this disorder. Most don't realize they have this disorder until they experience difficulty conceiving.

If you have this condition, you will typically display other symptoms besides an irregular or absent menstrual cycle. Signs of PCOS include:

  • Hirsutism; increased hair in places normally associated with males (e.g. face, chin, chest)
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Skin darkening in body creases (e.g. neck, under breasts)
  • Thinning hair
  • Acne on the face, back, and chest

Because of the hormonal imbalance, PCOS increases your risk of developing other diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Therefore, it's essential you speak to your healthcare provider as soon as possible to begin treatment if you suspect you may have this condition.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Another cause of absent periods is an overactive thyroid. The thyroid is responsible for controlling a variety of hormones, a delicate balance of which is required for a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. When the thyroid is under- or overactive, it can lead to irregular cycles or make them disappear altogether.

Absent periods is typically a symptom of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Like with PCOS, you will usually have other issues that indicate an overarching health issue, such as:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Thinning hair that becomes brittle
  • Fast heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Feelings of anxiety or irritability
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Chronic fatigue or weakness
  • An enlarged thyroid

An overactive thyroid can usually be treated using a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Be aware, though, that hyperthyroidism itself can be a symptom of another condition called Graves' disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. This disorder is characterized by abnormal changes in the eyes, such as bulging, pain/pressure, redness or inflammation, and sensitivity.

In either case, it's essential you get yourself checked by a doctor as soon as possible.

If neither of these conditions seems to apply to you, make an appointment with a gynecologist for gyn exams and for further testing.