Primary and Secondary Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is a condition where women do not have menstrual cycles or do not menstruate normally. Amenorrhea is called primary when referring to a woman under the age of 16 who has not started to menstruate. It is called secondary when a woman has started menstruating but experiences an abnormal cessation of menstruation. Amenorrhea typically occurs when a woman does not have adequate levels of female reproductive hormones to stimulate menstruation. Frequently, amenorrhea is associated with malnutrition, anorexia nervosa, or excessive exercise. It is also commonly associated with stress. Amenorrhea can cause serious disorders of the ovaries, the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and other related biochemical functions. When a woman first suspects she may have amenorrhea, a physician should be consulted. If not caught soon, amenorrhea may bring on early bone loss and cause a greater risk of developing osteoporosis.