What is Lactational Amenorrhea?

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What is Lactational Amenorrhea? – Amenorrhea Meaning

Lactational Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation in lactating mothers. It is a period of temporary infertility or postpartum infertility.
During the period of complete breastfeeding, the chances of conceiving are almost negligible. This has been found to be an effective method of contraception for a period of six months after parturition.
Amenorrhea simply can be described as irregular menstrual cycles. There can be two types. Primary amenorrhea is when a girl does not menstruate even after reaching the age of puberty. Secondary amenorrhea is when an adult woman with a normal cycle stops getting her periods for 3-6 months or longer. Secondary amenorrhea can be due to natural changes in the body such as lactational amenorrhea and menopause or it can be indicative of some other underlying cause. 

Lactational Amenorrhea Causes

  • After parturition, breastfeeding delays the resumption of the ovarian cycle. Ovulation does not occur and so the menstrual cycle is also skipped.
  • Lactational amenorrhea is under neuroendocrine control.
  • Lactation causes disruption in the release of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from Hypothalamus, which in turn controls the release of FSH and (LH) from the anterior pituitary.
  • Lactation prevents the surge in the release of LH during the preovulatory stage and thus prevents ovulation.
  • Once the lactation is reduced significantly, the normal cycle resumes.
  • Lactational amenorrhea is an efficient tool to space births.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

It refers to breastfeeding as a birth control method. Although it is not very reliable, it still accounts for a significant reduction in fertility.

After parturition, when the women are lactating intensely, they do not undergo the menstrual cycle so the chances of conception are almost nil.

The pros of this method are that it is a natural method and no medications or IUD have to be used for contraception. Hence there are no side effects. But there are high chances of failure too.

The prerequisite for LAM is that the mother should be exclusively breastfeeding, amenorrheic and the child should be below six months of age.

Return of menstruation varies from person to person. In breastfeeding women, menstruation within six months after childbirth is mostly anovulatory so the chances of fertility are minimum.

LAM should be replaced by any of the contraceptive methods afterwards e.g. IUDs or Oral pills, etc.

This was a brief note on Lactational Amenorrhea. Check your understanding with MCQs on Methods of Birth Control, only at BYJU’S.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes lactational amenorrhea?

Lactational amenorrhea is caused due to disruption of the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) from the hypothalamus. Suckling during lactation reduces GnRH secretion, which leads to a decrease in the levels of LH secreted from the pituitary and estrogen levels. A surge in the level of LH is essential for ovulation thus during breastfeeding ovulation does not occur.

How does lactational amenorrhea prevent pregnancy?

Lactational amenorrhea is an effective method to prevent pregnancy and space births. Ovulation does not occur during breastfeeding so one can not get pregnant during lactation. It is a good method of birth control if a mother is exclusively breastfeeding in the first six months after giving birth.

How long does lactational amenorrhea last?

Lactation amenorrhea generally lasts for six months after delivery, when the mother is exclusively breastfeeding the child.

What do you mean by lactational amenorrhea?

Lactational amenorrhea refers to a lack of menstrual cycle during the period of extensive lactation. It is an effective method of birth control.

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