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Amenorrhea

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Updated January 11, 2010

Definition:

Amenorrhea is the lack of a menstrual period. A woman may not get her period for an array of reasons. There are two types of amenorrhea, primary and secondary.

Primary amenorrhea occurs when a woman does not get her first menstrual period before the age of 16 and is usually a result of physiological or endocrine disorders.

Secondary amenorrhea occurs when a woman with previously normal cycles stops getting her period. Causes include menopause, chronic malnourishment as a result of poverty or anorexia, strenuous exercise and extreme stress.

Whenever a woman’s period stops suddenly or unexpectedly for a prolonged period of time (not related to pregnancy), she should visit her doctor.

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