Hypothalamic Dysfunction

Hypothalamic DysfunctionDisorders in the formation of female sex hormones can cause certain problems.
The menstrual cycle is a consequence of the interaction of hormones and similar chemical compounds that are ”produced” by hypothalamus (part of the brain), the pituitary gland (which is just below the brain) and the ovaries. This system is in a very delicate balance, and can be disrupted by a number of factors. Hypothalamus can be affected by emotional factors, drug overdose, weight changes, severe illness and, sometimes, withdrawal of contraceptive pills.

In some cases, for reasons unknow, pituitary gland also starts to ”behave” abnormally. Very rarely, the cause of the problem is the pituitary gland tumor.

Some ovarian disorders may also cause symptoms of hormonal disorders. Those disorders are ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, and a rare disease Stein-Leventhal syndrome, which can also cause ovarian swelling.

Symptoms

The main symptom of abnormalities in the creation of sex hormones is irregular or absent menstruation (see amenorrhea). If the cause of the problems is pituitary gland, symptoms caused due to the disorder of other hormones secreted by this gland are also possible.
Some ovarian disorders (such as ovarian cysts) increase the amount of secreted male hormone, testosterone, which can cause increased hairiness (hirsutism), development of stain on the skin, deeper voice and body weight gain.

Frequency

Disorders in sex hormone production are common, although in most cases they are not dangerous (but they may be of concern to the patient).

What to do?

If your menstruation becomes irregular or completely absent, go to your doctor for examination. If the doctor suspects you might have an illness, he will refer you to the gynecologist for additional examinations, blood tests, and maybe X-rays of the pituitary gland. Possible illness will then be treated appropriately. Otherwise, treatment will only be necessary if you want to conceive (see infertility).