Menstruating regularly is a must when you’re trying to get pregnant. But there are certain conditions which cause you to menstruate hardly ever. Or never.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
When you suffer from PCOS, your ovaries produce high levels of male hormones (androgens). Also the ovaries are often a bit larger than normal. That’s because they contain a large number of harmless cysts which influence the ovulation. PCOS causes your ovaries to release eggs irregularly, leading to irregular periods or no periods at all. This makes it harder to get pregnant. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it often runs in families and is associated with high levels of insulin and obesity. Women with PCOS often suffer from acne and excessive hair growth. It’s estimated that about 20% of the UK women have polycystic ovaries, although over half of them have no symptoms.
MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauer Syndrome)
MRKH is a congenital disorder that affects the female reproductive tract: girls are born without a vagina or uterus. Due to the absent uterus, women with MRKH don’t menstruate. They do have normal outside genitalia as well as normal ovaries and fallopian tubes. The condition is mostly only diagnosed when girls are between 15 and 18 years old and their periods still haven’t started. MRKH is named after the doctors Mayer, Rokitansky, Küster and Hauer who have all investigated this syndrome. In 1982 Dr Mayer wrote one of the first publications about it. MRKH is very rare, about 1 in every 5,000 female babies is born with this condition.
Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)
The average woman reaches menopause when she’s 51. However, 1 in 100 stop menstruating before they turn 40 and 1 in 1000 even before they’re 30. If you aren’t using hormonal contraceptives, you’ll notice Premature Ovarian Insufficiency by a changing menstrual cycle and typical menopausal complaints (that often aren’t recognised as such because they aren’t age-appropriate). If you are using hormonal contraceptives, POI often goes unnoticed; most women only find out when they’re trying to get pregnant. Premature Ovarian Insufficiency is sometimes also called Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), Primature Ovarian Insufficiency, and Premature Menopause.
In the European Union alone 25 million citizens face infertility. That’s why every first week of November is European Fertility Week.
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