Among secondary amenorrheas, hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) is the one with no evidence of endocrine/systemic causal factors. HA is mainly related to various stressors affecting neuroendocrine control of the reproductive axis. In clinical practice, HA is mainly associated with metabolic, physical, or psychological stress. Stress is the adaptive response of our body through all its homeostatic systems, to external and/or internal stimuli that activate specific and nonspecific physiological pathways. HA occurs generally after severe stressed conditions/situations such as dieting, heavy training, or intense emotional events, all situations that can induce amenorrhea with or without body weight loss and HA is a secondary amenorrhea with a diagnosis of exclusion. In fact, the diagnosis is essentially based on a good anamnestic investigation. It has to be investigated using the clinical history of the patient: occurrence of menarche, menstrual cyclicity, time and modality of amenorrhea, and it has to be excluded any endocrine disease or any metabolic (i.e., diabetes) and systemic disorders. It is necessary to identify any stressed situation induced by loss, family or working problems, weight loss or eating disorders, or physical training or agonist activity. Peculiar, though not specific, endocrine investigations might be proposed but no absolute parameter can be proposed since HA is greatly dependent from individual response to stressors and/or the adaptive response to stress. This chapter aims to give insights into diagnosis and putative therapeutic strategies.
Pharmacological and Integrative Treatment of Stress-Induced Hypothalamic Amenorrhea / Genazzani, A. D.; Despini, G.; Chierchia, E.; Benedetti, C.; Prati, A.. - (2016), pp. 69-84. [10.1007/978-3-319-23865-4_9]