It is true that, on many occasions, losing weight helps us feel healthy and reduce certain health problems, but we must get rid of the idea that the more weight we lose, the healthier we will be. Sometimes it is not like that and the body tells us so.
There are many miracle diets that promise sudden weight loss in a healthy way and many women fall for it without realizing that they are really attacking their health. We need to listen to our body.
Losing weight very quickly can cause disorders, including a very common one known as period loss. Do you know the relationship between weight changes and absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)? We tell you everything you need to know about this problem as serious as it is common among women.
Are weight loss and lack of menstruation related?
- The answer to this question is very simple: yes, weight changes have a direct relationship with the absence of menstruation. The reason must be found in the menstrual cycle, which is regulated by hormones called progesterone and estrogen. When an imbalance occurs in them, irregularities in menstruation or even its absence arrive.
- Our body produces 3 different types of estrogen, including estrone, a hormone secreted by the ovaries and by adipose tissue. Just as when we gain weight there are more fat cells that can cause breakthrough bleeding, with drastic weight loss the cells and adipose tissue cannot convert cholesterol into estrogen. In this way, the menstrual cycle would be affected.
- In this sense, it is important to highlight that the absence of periods does not only occur with weight loss due to diet or with eating disorders. It can also occur for other reasons, such as extreme exercise or a period of high stress.
What you should know about amenorrhea
- As we mentioned a few lines above, amenorrhea is a disorder in the menstrual cycle that causes its total absence. There are different types of amenorrhea, which we can divide into primary or secondary.
- Primary amenorrhea: affects adolescents who have experienced the characteristic changes of puberty, but have not had their first period after reaching 15 years of age.
- Secondary amenorrhea: occurs when a woman has been having normal periods for some time and suddenly stops menstruating. It can be caused by different reasons, including a large weight loss.
I have amenorrhea, now what?
- When you have amenorrhea, the first thing you should do is try to return to a normal weight and maintain it over time, without sudden changes. You must get rid of the idea that at that weight you are fine because the body itself is saying no. In addition, it is possible that you are ingesting very few nutrients, which can lead to more serious problems in the medium or long term.
- You must pay close attention to the Body Mass Index to know your ideal weight. It is calculated based on height, and determines if your weight is in a normal range. Women who have an index below 18 are underweight, and those above 25 are overweight. Within that range of 18 and 25 your weight could be considered normal or healthy, so the main goal is to put yourself there.
- The amenorrhea should resolve when we gain weight again and stabilize, although, on some occasions, it may take a while and, therefore, it is important that this follow-up is carried out by a gynecologist. In this way, if we need any eventual hormonal treatment to have menstrual cycles again, he will know which one is best for us.