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What is amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)?

Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. There are two categories: primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea. Such terms are used only to describe the timing of menstrual cessation; they do not indicate any cause or suggest any other information.

Primary amenorrhea occurs when a girl does not even start to menstruate. Girls who show no signs of sexual development (breast development and pubic hair) by age 14 should be evaluated. Girls who do not have their periods by two years after sexual development should also be checked. Any girl who does not have her period by age 16 should be evaluated for primary amenorrhea. Secondary amenorrhea is a condition in which periods that were previously regular become absent for at least three cycles.

Many conditions that cause amenorrhea, such as ovulation abnormalities, are major contributors to infertility. Irregular periods from any cause make it more difficult to conceive. Amenorrhea that is associated with reduced estrogen levels increases the risk for osteoporosis (loss of bone density). Because bone growth is at its peak in adolescence and young adulthood, losing bone density at that time is very dangerous, and early diagnosis and treatment is essential for long-term health. Young highly competitive female athletes or dancers and those with eating disorders are at risk for bone loss--but only if they also have amenorrhea.

Reducing stress may help resolve the disorder in some women. Being either over- or underweight is a contributor to menstrual disorders. Women should make every effort to maintain a normal weight. Exercise is very important in maintaining good health. Although unusually vigorous exercise can cause menstrual irregularity and even amenorrhea, few women exercise to the extent that their periods are affected. For those who do, a recent study found that simply adding calories can restore regular menstruation in such women. Competitive athletes do not have to stop exercising to restore fertility. They simply need to eat more.

Some women may resort to herbal or so-called natural remedies. Although many are now being produced by recognized manufacturers, none require US government regulations and no one should take any remedies for medical conditions without consulting a physician.

More information on menstruation

What is menstruation? - Menstruation is a woman's monthly bleeding. Menstruation is a very complicated process involving many different hormones, the woman's sex organs and the brain.
What is a normal menstrual cycle? - The menstrual cycle is a term used to describe the sequence of events that occur within a womenĄŻs body as it prepares for the possibility of pregnancy each month.
At what age does menstruation typically begin? - Girls start menstruating at the average age of 12. However, girls can begin menstruating as early as 8 years of age or as late as 16 years of age.
How often does a girl get her menstruation period? - Menstruation period happen about once a month. They last for four to seven days after which there is a pause of about 23 days (three weeks or so) until the next period.
How long does a woman have periods? - Women usually continue having periods until menopause. Menopause occurs around the age of 51, on average. The second part (from ovulation to onset of bleeding) is almost always 14 days long.
What kinds of problems do women have with their periods? - Women can have various kinds of problems with their periods, including pain, heavy bleeding, and skipped periods.
How often should I change my pad/tampon? - Sanitary napkins (pads) should be changed as often as necessary, before the pad is soaked with menstrual flow. Tampons should be changed often (at least every 4-8 hours).
What is amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)? - Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation. There are two categories: primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea.
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Natural menopause product
Dong Quai, one of the most important of the Chinese tonic herbs, is used as a nourishing blood tonic and to regulate the menstrual cycle. Dong Quai helps to balance female hormones and to prevent the troublesome symptoms of menopause and PMS.

Topics in women's health

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005