(Absent Menses; Amenorrhea)
Primary amenorrhea—when an adolescent female has not yet begun menstruation by around age 16 years
- Most females begin menstruating between the ages 9-18, but age 12 is the average.
- Secondary amenorrhea—when a woman who has previously menstruated misses three or more periods in a row
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- Dramatic weight loss (such as from extreme diets, eating disorders, or excessive exercise) or dramatic weight gain
- Birth defects, including lack of female reproductive organs
- Chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities
- Certain conditions such as thryoid disorder and pituitary tumor
- Medications such as certain contraceptives
- Emotional distress
- Uterine scarring
When Should I Call My Doctor?
- Have not had your first period and are aged 16 years or older
- Miss having your period
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Weight-related cause—A healthy caloric intake and exercise routine usually restores hormonal balance and menstruation.
- Birth defect—Surgery may be needed.
- Hormonal irregularity—Hormanal therapy may be needed.
- Emotional distress—Relaxation techniques, therapy, and exercise may help to decrease stress.
- Pituitary tumor—Surgery, radiation therapy , or medication may be needed.
- Maintain an appropriate level of body fat.
- Get help for an eating disorder.
- Treat conditions that can lead to amenorrhea, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, pituitary tumor, and hypothyroidism.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services http://www.womenshealth.gov
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada http://www.sogc.org
Amenorrhea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 7, 2014. Accessed August 8, 2014.
Amenorrhea. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/amenorrhea.html. Updated February 2014. Accessed August 8, 2014.
Current evaluation of amenorrhea. American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: http://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM%5FContent/News%5Fand%5FPublications/Practice%5FGuidelines/Educational%5FBulletins/Current%5Fevaluation(1).pdf. Accessed August 8, 2014.
- Reviewer: Andrea Chisholm, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 08/08/2014 -