The absence of a menstrual period is called “amenorrhea.” There are two kinds:

• Primary: When a young girl has not yet had a period by age 16
• Secondary: A woman who used to have a regular period but then stopped for at least three months (this can include pregnancy)

Signs of amenorrhea include:

• The main sign is missing a menstrual period

A sign of overall good health is having regular periods. Something is going wrong or you are pregnant if you miss a period. Always tell your health care provider if you miss a period so he or she can properly assess what is happening.

Amenorrhea is not a disease. It is a symptom of another condition that needs to be determined by a qualified health care professional. Other symptoms like headache, vision changes, hair loss or excess facial hair may occur.

Causes of primary amenorrhea include:

• Chromosomal or genetic abnormalities
• Hypothalamic or pituitary diseases and physical problems
• Moderate or excessive exercise
• Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
• Extreme physical or psychological stress

Causes of secondary amenorrhea include:

• Common causes include many of those listed for primary amenorrhea
• Certain contraceptives
• Breastfeeding
• Mental stress
• Certain medications
• Hormonal problems
• Very low body weight
• Premature ovarian failure

Are there effective treatments for amenorrhea?

• The treatment depends upon the underlying cause
• Sometimes lifestyle changes can help if the cause is weight, stress, or physical activity
• Medications
• Contraceptives

For more information:

You can obtain a 24-page booklet in PDF form online entitled, “Do I have Premature Ovarian Failure,” at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development web site. If you prefer the booklet in print, you can write to:

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH, DHHS, (2003)
Do I have Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)? (03-5159)
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, DC

Source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All health concerns should be addressed by a qualified health care professional

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

Author's Bio: 

Author: Connie Limon. Visit and sign up for a weekly nutrition and health tip. The article collection is available as FREE reprints for your newsletters, websites or blog. For a variety of FREE reprint articles on various topics rarely seen elsewhere visit