Hypothalamic Amenorrhea Symptoms
How do you know if your missing period is caused by Hypothalamic Amenorrhea? What are the symptoms of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea? In this post you will learn all about the signs of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea.
What is Hypothalamic Amenorrhea?
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA), sometimes referred to as Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (FHA) or Female Athlete Triad, is when a female loses her period due to stress. The stress can come in different forms:
under-eating, intentionally or unintentionally - which leads to something called low energy availability or relative energy deficiency
other stress (work stress, relationship stress, ...,)
Because of these stress factors, your body, or more specific your Hypothalamus (hence Hypothalamic Amenorrhea) detects danger, famine, threat, and as a result decides it is currently not safe for your body to become pregnant. Of course there can be other causes for a missing period (pregancy, PCOS, cancer, ...). So how do you know if your missing period is caused by Hypothalamic Amenorrhea? Usually Hypothalamic Amenorrhea can be diagnosed without lab works by looking at lifestyle factors.
How do the symptoms of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea look?
The first and most obvious symptom is a lack of period. There are however many other signs and symptoms common in Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. You might experience none, few or all of these symptoms:
Feeling constantly cold
Having a low libido
Being fatigued and feel exhausted
Waking up hungry in the middle of the night or early morning
Low levels of reproductive hormones, especially Luteinising Hormone (LH), Estrogen and Follicle-Stimulating hormone (FSH)
Thin uterine lining
Polycystic-appearing ovaries (many smaller follicles present on the ovaries)
Low bone density, osteopenia or osteoporosis
Brittle hair or hair loss
Low body weight or weight loss (disclaimer, Hypothalamic Amenorrhea occurs in women of all body sizes!)
Low body fat percentage (disclaimer, HA occurs in women of all body sizes!)
Restrictive eating behaviors
Compulsive exercise habits
High daily stress levels
The most common misdiagnosis I see, is that doctors diagnose Hypothalamic Amenorrhea as PCOS - something that can have quite fatal consequences for recovery since the advises given in PCOS are quite the opposite of what is needed to recover from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. I have a post on PCOS vs Hypothalamic Amenorrhea that you can read HERE.
If you have the feeling your health care provider is not listening to you, try to see if there is someone else you can reach out to, you deserve to be taken seriously! Feel free to use this or any other of my posts in your discussion with your healthcare contact:
To recover from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is simple but not easy. What you need to do is to reverse the state of danger that your body is sensing. This involves changing your eating and exercise routines. Apply for my 8-week program to regain your period, and thereby your fertility, in just 8 weeks!