Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Diet and Exercise
The word “amenorrhea” simply refers to an absence of periods. Hypothalamus, on the other hand, is a part of the brain that plays a crucial role in the endocrine system that essentially produces hormones necessary for several crucial bodily functions including reproduction. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is diagnosed when a females stops having her periods due to problems with hypothalamus.
Believe it or not, this condition starts in the brain, quite a distance from your reproductive organs where you would suspect any issues regarding your menstrual cycle to begin. In hypothalamic amenorrhea, the hypothalamus stops producing GnRH, a crucial hormone responsible for the production of other hormones which are responsible for fertility and menstruation. Unfortunately, this can be one of the causes of infertility in women as reproduction is essentially impossible without these important hormones. Hypothalamic amenorrhea is considered a secondary amenorrhea and is different from primary amenorrhea affecting younger women who simply never get a period in the first place.
Diet and exercise are essential components that can affect female hormone production. Women who exercise excessively and whose body mass index is lower than 17 can experience a functional hypothalamic amenorrhea. In fact, competitive female athletes are in a high risk zone for developing what is called a female athlete triad, a condition characterized by three factors, namely, eating disorders, lack of periods and bone loss due to low estrogen levels. To diagnose this condition, a physician must first rule out a tumor that can trigger this condition and block gonadotropin release. Later your doctor will run further tests to assess various hormones’ levels. Normally, such patients respond quite well to reduction of exercise, improved calorie intake, and their periods go back to normal. It seems like it’s a natural body’s reaction to prevent pregnancy in women with too low of a body mass that cannot sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Hypothalamic amenorrhea condition can also affect women practicing extremely restrictive dieting or diagnosed with anorexia which again can lead to dangerously low body mass. The body has a hard time processing these extremes, and it can cause the hypothalamus to react in undesirable ways. Proper and balanced nutrition rich in micro-nutrients and reasonable physical activity are essential to all kinds of body functions, and you may be surprised to know that some of your lifestyle changes can be to blame for you absence of periods.
Menstruation is simply a piece of a well tuned symphony of a female reproductive cycle. Female hormones are like musical notes allowing women to fully experience the joys of a healthy reproductive system’s symphony. If one part of the puzzle is missing or female hormone imbalance is present, a harmonious symphony is not attainable leading to abnormal menstrual cycle.