Amenorrhea means you do not have menstrual periods. There are two types. Primary amenorrhea means you never start your periods. Secondary amenorrhea means you have had periods, and then they stop, especially for more than 3 months.
Even if you don't have periods, you could still get pregnant.
You may not know what caused your periods to stop. Possible causes include pregnancy, hormonal changes, and losing or gaining a lot of weight quickly. Some medicines and stress could also cause it.
Being active in endurance sports can also cause you to miss your period or stop menstruating. Losing weight or maintaining a low weight in harmful ways could also stop your period. These include dieting too much or binging and purging. But doing these things can lead to eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. If you exercise less or gain a little weight, your periods will probably start again.
Your doctor may order tests to find out why your periods have stopped. Treatment depends on the cause. Your doctor may prescribe hormone therapy to help regulate your cycle. This can also help protect against bone loss.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and low-fat dairy products.
- Do light exercise, unless your doctor told you not to exercise.
- Use birth control if you do not want to get pregnant.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have severe vaginal bleeding.
- You have new or worse belly or pelvic pain.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
- You think you might be pregnant.
- You do not get better as expected.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter E177 in the search box to learn more about "Secondary Amenorrhea: Care Instructions".
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine