Causes and Symptoms of Secondary Amenorrhea

Secondary amenorrhea is when a normal menstruating woman stops having her menstrual cycle for six months or longer. Primary amenorrhea is when a woman of childbearing age still hasn’t had a menstrual period.

Secondary Amenorrhea Causes

Some things will put a woman in the high risk category for secondary amenorrhea. These include severe anxiety or emotional distress, having under 15 to 17 percent body fat, being obese, excessive exercise, and a loss of weight suddenly. Other causes include a thyroid dysfunction, pituitary or brain tumors, premature ovarian failure, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Some medications may also cause this condition including pehnothiazines, chlorambucil, cyclophosphamide, chemotherapy drugs, and busulfan.

Symptoms of Secondary Amenorrhea

The two main signs of this condition are that previously the woman has had one or more menstrual cycles and that there has been no menstrual cycle for six months or longer. There are other symptoms that include voice changes, vaginal dryness, headache, increased hair growth in a pale pattern, breast discharge, acne, weight gain or weight loss, and changes in the size of the breast.


A pelvic exam, pregnancy test, and physical test will be done. Blood tests to check levels of hormones include the thyroid stimulating hormone, prolactin levels, luteinizing hormone, estradiol levels, follicle stimulating hormone, and serum hormone levels. Other possible tests include a pelvic ultrasound, head MRI, genetic testing, endometrial biopsy, and a head CT scan.


Treatment of this condition is done by treating the cause of it. The prognosis is good with only a few complications that also depend on the cause of it. There may be endometrial hyperplasia, which can lead to uterine cancer on occasion.

Source: A.D.A.M.

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