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Recovery of menses after functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea: if, when and why


Pape, J; Herbison, A E; Leeners, B (2021). Recovery of menses after functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea: if, when and why. Human reproduction update, 27(1):130-153.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Prolonged amenorrhoea occurs as a consequence of functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea (FHA) which is most often induced by weight loss, vigorous exercise or emotional stress. Unfortunately, removal of these triggers does not always result in the return of menses. The prevalence and conditions underlying the timing of return of menses vary strongly and some women report amenorrhoea several years after having achieved and maintained normal weight and/or energy balance. A better understanding of these factors would also allow improved counselling in the context of infertility. Although BMI, percentage body fat and hormonal parameters are known to be involved in the initiation of the menstrual cycle, their role in the physiology of return of menses is currently poorly understood. We summarise here the current knowledge on the epidemiology and physiology of return of menses.
OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE

The aim of this review was to provide an overview of (i) factors determining the recovery of menses and its timing, (ii) how such factors may exert their physiological effects and (iii) whether there are useful therapeutic options to induce recovery.
SEARCH METHODS

We searched articles published in English, French or German language containing keywords related to return of menses after FHA published in PubMed between 1966 and February 2020. Manuscripts reporting data on either the epidemiology or the physiology of recovery of menses were included and bibliographies were reviewed for further relevant literature. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) criteria served to assess quality of observational studies.
OUTCOMES

Few studies investigate return of menses and most of them have serious qualitative and methodological limitations. These include (i) the lack of precise definitions for FHA or resumption of menses, (ii) the use of short observation periods with unsatisfactory descriptions and (iii) the inclusion of poorly characterised small study groups. The comparison of studies is further hampered by very inhomogeneous study designs. Consequently, the exact prevalence of resumption of menses after FHA is unknown. Also, the timepoint of return of menses varies strongly and reliable prediction models are lacking. While weight, body fat and energy availability are associated with the return of menses, psychological factors also have a strong impact on the menstrual cycle and on behaviour known to increase the risk of FHA. Drug therapies with metreleptin or naltrexone might represent further opportunities to increase the chances of return of menses, but these require further evaluation.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Prolonged amenorrhoea occurs as a consequence of functional hypothalamic amenorrhoea (FHA) which is most often induced by weight loss, vigorous exercise or emotional stress. Unfortunately, removal of these triggers does not always result in the return of menses. The prevalence and conditions underlying the timing of return of menses vary strongly and some women report amenorrhoea several years after having achieved and maintained normal weight and/or energy balance. A better understanding of these factors would also allow improved counselling in the context of infertility. Although BMI, percentage body fat and hormonal parameters are known to be involved in the initiation of the menstrual cycle, their role in the physiology of return of menses is currently poorly understood. We summarise here the current knowledge on the epidemiology and physiology of return of menses.
OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE

The aim of this review was to provide an overview of (i) factors determining the recovery of menses and its timing, (ii) how such factors may exert their physiological effects and (iii) whether there are useful therapeutic options to induce recovery.
SEARCH METHODS

We searched articles published in English, French or German language containing keywords related to return of menses after FHA published in PubMed between 1966 and February 2020. Manuscripts reporting data on either the epidemiology or the physiology of recovery of menses were included and bibliographies were reviewed for further relevant literature. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) criteria served to assess quality of observational studies.
OUTCOMES

Few studies investigate return of menses and most of them have serious qualitative and methodological limitations. These include (i) the lack of precise definitions for FHA or resumption of menses, (ii) the use of short observation periods with unsatisfactory descriptions and (iii) the inclusion of poorly characterised small study groups. The comparison of studies is further hampered by very inhomogeneous study designs. Consequently, the exact prevalence of resumption of menses after FHA is unknown. Also, the timepoint of return of menses varies strongly and reliable prediction models are lacking. While weight, body fat and energy availability are associated with the return of menses, psychological factors also have a strong impact on the menstrual cycle and on behaviour known to increase the risk of FHA. Drug therapies with metreleptin or naltrexone might represent further opportunities to increase the chances of return of menses, but these require further evaluation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Reproductive Medicine
Health Sciences > Obstetrics and Gynecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Reproductive Medicine
Language:English
Date:4 January 2021
Deposited On:11 Feb 2021 15:08
Last Modified:22 Feb 2021 15:03
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1355-4786
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmaa032
PubMed ID:33067637

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Embargo till: 2021-10-17