I am forty-four and was involved in a car crash three years ago. I was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. After the accident I did not have a period. Since then I have had my period every month, at the correct time and as normal. However, for the last two months I have not had one. I went to a GYN and he looked at the hormone levels taken by my general practitioner. He said my hormones would not be interrupted by any brain injury and that my symptoms were simply those of menopause. This may be so, but my family history is not one of early menopause. Is there any advice you could provide?
Recent research indicates there is higher incidence of hormone abnormalities in people who have sustained a brain injury. This is related to injury to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and all the hormones they produce or stimulate to produce, including thyroid hormone, growth hormone, cortisol, and the sex hormones (FSH, LH, Prolactin, estrogen, and testosterone). It is more common to see these abnormalities early on after a brain injury but they can come on as a long-term consequence. Medications and other medical illnesses need to be eliminated as the cause of the hormone abnormality.
Although there may not be anything to be done if you’ve already gone into menopause, it would be worth having your doctor check to make sure no other hormone levels are low. This can be done with a standard blood test.
Dr. Brian Greenwald is medical director of Center for Head Injuries and the associate medical director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. He is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.