Amenorrhea - secondary
Share | - Comprehensive articles covering over 1,700 topics. The articles are organized by the disease, condition overview, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

Drugs search, click the first letter of a drug name:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 8 | 9

Terms search, click the first letter of a term name:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Online medical services

Medical dictionary is a searchable dictionary of medical terms from medicine and related fields. Search for medical terms with our medical dictionary.

Drugs & Medications Search our drug database for comprehensive prescription and patient information on 24,000 drugs online. - The Internet Drug Index for prescription drugs and medications.

PMS blog Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), PMS headache

Blue waffles disease, blog. Blue waffle infection, blue waffle disease pictures.



Disease Reference

Click on the first letter in the disease name:

| 4 | 5 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Amenorrhea - secondary


Secondary amenorrhea is lack of periods for 6 or more months in a woman who has already started menstruation and who is not pregnant, lactating, or in menopause.

See also:

Menstruation - Absent

Primary amenorrhea

Alternative Names

Amenorrhea - secondary


About 4% of women have secondary amenorrhea. There are many reasons for missing a period.

You are at an increased risk of secondary amenorrhea if you engage in extreme and prolonged exercise (particularly without adequate conditioning), have less than 15 - 17% body fat, are obese, or take hormonal supplements.

Anxiety and emotional distress can also cause a missed period.

The following drugs may also cause missed periods: 

  • Busulfan
  • Chlorambucil
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Phenothiazines 
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Non-oral contraceptives such as Depo-Provera

Also, procedures such as a dilation and curettage (D and C) can cause a woman to develop amenorrhea if scar tissue develops within the uterine cavity.


  • Previously had one or more menstrual periods
  • No menstrual period for 6 months or longer

Other symptoms associated with secondary amenorrhea depend on the cause. They may include headache, galactorrhea, considerable weight gain or weight loss, dry vagina, increased hair growth in a "male" pattern (hirsutism), voice changes, and breast size changes. If amenorrhea is caused by a pituitary tumor, other symptoms related to the tumor such as visual loss, may be present.

Exams and Tests

The doctor will probably do a pelvic examination. Physical and pelvic examinations must rule out pregnancy before other diagnostic testing begins. The patient may be referred for psychological counseling if anxiety is causing the condition.

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

  • Endometrial biopsy
  • Progestin withdrawal
  • Prolactin level
  • Serum hormone levels such as testosterone levels
  • Pregnancy test (serum HCG)
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH level)
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH level)
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Karyotype to rule out the presence of Y chromosome abnormality
  • CT scan of the head may be done if a pituitary tumor is suspected


Treatment depends on the cause of the amenorrhea. Normal menstrual function usually returns after the primary disorder is treated.

For example, if the primary disorder is hypothyroidism, then amenorrhea will be cured when it is treated with thyroid supplements.

If the primary cause is obesity, vigorous athletics, weight loss, or similar factors, treatment recommendations may include a change in one's exercise routine and weight control.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome depends on the cause. Most of the conditions that cause secondary amenorrhea will respond to treatment.

Possible Complications

By itself, amenorrhea does not cause complications. However, the conditions that cause amenorrhea may have complications.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your primary health care provider or OB/GYN provider if you are a woman and have missed more than one period so that the cause, and appropriate treatment, can be determined.


Prevention depends on the cause. For example, moderate exercise instead of extreme exercise, weight control, and other measures may be helpful.

Stenchever MA, Droegemueller W, Herbst AR. Comprehensive Gynecology. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2001:1109-1119.

Rakel P, ed. Conn's Current Therapy 2005. 57th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2005:1291-1293.

Email to a Friend

Your Name:

Friend's Email:

More about Amenorrhea - secondary -
   Amenorrhea - secondary
Necrotizing vasculitis
Laryngeal nerve damage
Calluses and corns
Abscess - intra-abdominal
Dermatitis herpetiformis

Medical dictionary | Natural mosquito repellents | Dust mites pictures | Prescription Drug Information | new 401k rules | Hyperkeratosis pilaris treatment
© Copyright by 2006-2007. All rights reserved