Other Proposed Natural Treatments
The term “amenorrhea” literally means an absence of menstrual bleeding. In medicine, it is used to indicate one of two conditions: the cessation of menstrual cycle in a woman of menstrual age or the failure to develop a menstrual cycle at all in a young woman who has reached the age of 16 years old. This article only addresses the first of these conditions, technically called “secondary amenorrhea.” To avoid using this long term, we will simply refer to the condition here as “amenorrhea.”
There are many causes of amenorrhea. Severe weight loss, such as may occur in a woman with anorexia nervosa, can cause the menstrual period to stop. So can extreme exercise, such as marathon running, bodybuilding, or professional-caliber ballet dancing.
Young women who go to college may develop amenorrhea too, possibly from stress or perhaps as a reflex reaction to what the body considers a “migration.” Pregnancy and nursing stop the menstrual cycle by design. Finally, women who have used oral contraceptives may find that it takes a while for a normal menstrual cycle to return after discontinuing them.
More rarely, amenorrhea may indicate a serious medical condition, such as a disorder of the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, or the ovaries. For this reason, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor if you miss more than one menstrual period, to see if more evaluation is needed. Medical treatment for amenorrhea depends on the cause. If examination reveals no underlying cause, physicians may recommend a period of oral contraceptive use to start up the cycle.
Proposed Natural Treatments
Other commonly proposed natural treatments for amenorrhea include the supplements vitamin B 6 and zinc and the herbs blue cohosh , angelica, asafetida, alfalfa seed, motherwort, parsley , and rue. However, there is no meaningful scientific evidence to indicate whether they are effective.
Herbs and Supplements to Avoid
Finally, certain herbs and supplements may interact with oral contraceptive drugs used to treat amenorrhea. For more information, see the Oral Contraceptive article in the Drug Interactions section of this database.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/18/2014 -