(Absent Menses; Amenorrhea)
by Diana Kohnle
Menstruation, or a menstrual period, refers to the monthly process in which the uterus sheds blood and tissue in preparation for pregnancy.
Not having or missing a menstrual period is called amenorrhea. This condition is divided into two types:
The most common cause of secondary amenorrhea is pregnancy. If nonpregnant women, may be due to a variety of factors.
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that may increase the risk of amenorrhea include:
The main symptom for primary amenorrhea is the absence of a menstrual period in a female by age 16 or older. The main symptom for secondary amenorrhea is three or more missed periods in a row in a woman who has previously had menstrual periods.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Call your doctor if you:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done.
Tests may include:
Other tests that may be ordered include:
Treatment will depend on what is causing amennorhea. Examples include:
There are no clear guidelines for preventing amenorrhea.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Amenorrhea. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydocto... . Updated August 2010. Accessed August 13, 2012.
Current evaluation of amenorrhea. American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: http://www.asrm.or... . Accessed August 13, 2012.
Secondary amenorrhea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated February 3, 2012. Accessed August 13, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Andrea Chisholm
Last Updated: 09/27/2012