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What is the treatment for amenorrhea?
Treatment of primary and secondary amenorrhea is determined by the
precise cause. Treatment goals can be to relieve symptoms of
hormonal imbalance, establish menstruation, prevent complications, and/or to achieve fertility, although not all of these goals
can be achieved in every case.
In cases in which genetic or anatomical abnormalities are the cause of
amenorrhea (typically primary amenorrhea), surgery may be recommended.
Hypothalamic amenorrhea that is related to weight loss, excessive exercise,
physical illness, or emotional stress can typically be corrected by addressing
the underlying cause. For example, weight gain and reduction in intensity of
exercise can usually restore menstrual periods in women who have developed
amenorrhea due to weight loss or overly intensive exercise, respectively, who do
not have additional causes of amenorrhea. In some cases, nutritional counseling
may be of benefit.
In premature ovarian failure, hormone therapy may be recommended both to
avoid the unpleasant symptoms of estrogen depletion as well as prevent
complications (see below) of low estrogen level such as osteoporosis. This may
consist of oral contraceptive pills for those women who do not desire pregnancy
or alternative estrogen and progesterone medications. While postmenopausal
hormone therapy has been associated with certain health risks in older women,
younger women with premature ovarian failure can benefit from this therapy to
prevent bone loss.
Women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) may benefit from treatments that
reduce the level or activity of male hormones, or androgens.
Dopamine agonist medications such as
bromocriptine (Parlodel) can reduce elevated
prolactin levels, which may be responsible for amenorrhea. Consequently,
medication levels may be adjusted by the person's physician if appropriate.
Assisted reproductive technologies and the administration of gonadotropin
medications (drugs that stimulate follicle maturation in the ovaries) can be
appropriate for women with some types of amenorrhea who wish to attempt to
While many companies and individuals have marketed herbal therapies as a
treatment for amenorrhea, none of these have been conclusively proved to be of
benefit. These therapies are not regulated by the U.S. FDA and the quality of
herbal preparations is not tested. Herbal remedies have been associated with
serious and even fatal side effects in rare cases, and some preparations have
been shown to contain high levels of toxins. Before deciding to take a natural
or alternative remedy for amenorrhea, it is wise to seek the advice of your
health care practitioner.