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Amenorrhea and Dysmenorrhea Disorders Essay

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Updated: Dec 24th, 2020

Male and female reproductive systems share some common physiologic and anatomic peculiarities. First of all, they have the same function – reproduction (Huether & McCance, 2016). The complexity of functioning of reproductive systems is determined, apart from anatomic structures, by “complex hormonal and neurologic factors” (Huether & McCance, 2016, p. 798). These peculiarities make disorders of the reproductive systems difficult to diagnose because they frequently have no evident clinical manifestations.

Disorders of the reproductive systems are frequently caused by infectious diseases, and sexually transmitted diseases in particular. In case of the worst scenario, reproductive disorders lead to infertility. It is important to know the peculiarities of reproductive disorders to be able to prevent them or diagnose and treat properly.

Amenorrhea and Dysmenorrhea: Similarities and Differences

Disorders of the female reproductive system includes hormonal and menstrual alterations such as dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, polycystic ovary syndrome, premenstrual disorders syndrome, and others. Amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea are among the most frequent disorders that influence reproductive function.

Both disorders can be primary and secondary. Primary dysmenorrhea is defined as “painful menstruation associated with the release of prostaglandins in ovulatory cycles, but not with pelvic disease” (Huether & McCance, 2016, p. 805). About a half of all women suffer from dysmenorrhea. It usually develops during adolescence, while secondary dysmenorrhea can appear later in the reproductive years. Amenorrhea is lack of menstruation. In case of primary amenorrhea, menstruation is absent by the age of 13 (secondary sex characteristics do not develop) or 15 (disregarding the development of secondary sex characteristics) (Huether & McCance, 2016).

Dysmenorrhea can be a primary disease or the manifestation of underlying pelvic disease such as endometriosis and leiomyomas (Hammer & McPhee, 2014). Amenorrhea can be caused by both normal physiologic processes (for example pregnancy or menopause) and pathologic changes. These disorders have different symptoms. Dysmenorrhea is characterized with pelvic pain while amenorrhea has no clinical manifestations apart from the absence of the first menstrual period (Huether & McCance, 2016).

Diagnosing and treatment also differ. Thus, dysmenorrhea can be diagnosed by obtaining a detailed medical history and pelvic examination. It can be treated by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Amenorrhea is more difficult to diagnose because it demands laboratory studies of hormones. Treatment of this disorder implies hormone replacement therapy.

Impact of Ethnicity on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Reproductive Disorders

Reproductive disorders are influenced by a variety of factors such as gender, age, and lifestyles. Ethnicity is one of such factors because it has impact on fertility and reproductive functions. There exist some disparities in health that are related to reproductive systems. For example, American Indian/Alaskan native and African-American women demonstrate higher incidence of invasive cervical cancer, black women are cauterized with higher rates of preterm birth and fetal, infant, and perinatal mortality (Sharara, 2015). Moreover, ethnic and racial disparities are frequently decisive for reproductive medicine, both diagnosing and treatment of disorders.

Some of health problems that lead to reproductive disorders include diabetes mellitus and obesity that are usually more frequent among national minorities. Thus, non-Hispanic black Americans are at increased risk of having diabetes than Whites (Owen, Goldstein, Clayton, & Segars, 2013). Non-Hispanic black women also have higher obesity rates (49.6%) compared to white women (33%). Since there is a proved connection between “increased body mass index, polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, anovulation, and diabetes mellitus,” such demographic disparities are disturbing (Owen et al., 2013, p. 320).

Treatment and diagnosing can become a problem for low-income national minorities because of poor access to health care. Also, treatment of fertility disorders with assisted reproductive technology has racial disparities. Thus, black women have an average of 1.3 more years of infertility because of lack of fertility care. Finally, some differences in diagnosing infertility were revealed. African Americans and Hispanics typically have higher rates of tubal factor infertility if compared to white women.


Generally speaking, reproductive disorders are a burden of contemporary medical science. They can be influenced by a variety of factors including age, environment, and ethnicity. Thus, the strategies for diagnosing and treatment should consider all impacts for better patient outcomes.


Hammer, G.D., & McPhee, S.J. (2014). Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Huether, S.E., & McCance, K.L. (2016). Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Owen, C., Goldstein, E., Clayton, J., & Segars, J. (2013). . Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 31(05), 317-324. Web.

Sharara, F. (Ed.). (2015). Ethnic differences in fertility and assisted reproduction. New York, NY: Springer.

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