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Contraceptives can hinder menstrual flow: Gynecologist cautions women


A Consultant Gynecologist, Dr Ayodele Ademola, has cautioned women, particularly those in child-bearing age bracket against indiscriminate use of contraceptives, saying it can lead to absence of menstrual period.

Ademola, also the Medical Director, StrongTower Hospital and Advanced Fertility Centre, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday Lagos.

NAN reports that absence of menstrual period is a condition known as “amenorrhea” which occurs while a woman is still in her reproductive years,

It can also occur as side effect of medication or an indication of a medical problem.

Ademola said there are two types of amenorrhea — primary and secondary.

According to him, amenorrhea can be natural, saying that during pregnancy and breastfeeding, menstruation stops in some women.

He explained that the primary type of amenorrhea is when menstruation never occurred in a girl of 15-16 years of age due to genetic disorder or abnormal female reproductive organs.

The gynecologist said that the secondary aspect occurs when a woman has experienced menstrual periods but stopped for three or more consecutive months.

The gynecologist said that the secondary amenorrhea could occur due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, emotional stress, premature ovarian failure, chemotherapy and hysterectomy.

He attributed oral contraceptives, certain medications and low body weight of about 10 per cent under normal weight, obesity, eating disorder, excessive exercise and stress as factors that could make menstrual cycle stop.

Ademola also blamed the condition on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), overactive thyroid, underactive thyroid, pituitary tumour, as well as premature menopause.

He added that problems such as uterine scaring; Asherman’s Syndrome, which occurs after dilation and curettage (DC), caesarean section and treatment of uterine fibroids, could predispose a woman to the condition.

Ademola explained that primary amenorrhea could occur due to lack of reproductive organs being fully developed or even its absence.

He said, “If a girl is born without some major parts of her reproductive systems such as the uterus, cervix or vagina, she can’t menstruate.

“Structural abnormality of the vagina and obstruction of the vagina may also prevent visible menstrual bleeding.

“A membrane or wall may be present in the vagina which blocks the outflow of blood from the uterus and cervix.”

He then said that recovering ceased menstrual cycle could start from knowing and treating the underlying cause, as well as lifestyle changes.

He advised patients with secondary amenorrhea caused by hormonal imbalance to use prescribed contraceptive pills and other hormone therapies to help restore ceased menstrual cycle.

Ademola also suggested surgery in patients suffering from tumours and structural blockage.

He, however, said that primary amenorrhea caused by late puberty does not need treatment but those caused by genetic abnormalities could be treated by administering supplementary ovarian hormones.

According to him, most women experience menopause between age 40 and 58, while the average age for menopause is 51 years of age.

The gynecologist urged women whose conditions are caused by obesity; underweight, among others, to change their diet so as to restore normal menstrual cycle. (NAN)

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