Amenorrhea or absence of menstruation is a symptom of an underlying disorder than a condition in and of itself.
Amenorrhea can be primary or secondary:
- Primary amenorrhea is failure or absence of menses to occur by any of the following:
16 years old or 2 years after the onset of puberty
About 14 years old who have not gone through puberty (e.g. growth spurt, development of secondary sexual characteristics)
- Secondary amenorrhea is the cessation of menses after it have begun; evaluation is usually done if menses are absent for more than 6 months.
It may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause. Such symptoms may include the following:
Hirsutism (excess body hair)
Decrease in sex drive
Many of the risk factors generally limit or stop the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone that may lead to amenorrhea or delay in menstrual period.
- Pregnancy. The most common cause of amenorrhea in women of reproductive age.
- Stress, excessive exercise or eating disorders. Stress hormones are produced which stop or limit the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone
- Being overweight or underweight
- When the body produces low levels of estrogen
- Perimenopause or menopause
- Use or abuse of drugs (e.g. contraceptives, antidepressants, antipsychotics)
- Other illness (a sudden, short or even a longer illness)
Commonly Prescribed Drugs