Amenorrhea

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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What are the complications of amenorrhea?

Infertility is a significant complication of amenorrhea for women who desire to become pregnant. Osteopenia (a reduction in bone density) or osteoporosis is a complication of low estrogen levels, which may occur with prolonged amenorrhea. Other complications of amenorrhea depend upon the underlying cause of the amenorrhea.

Can amenorrhea be prevented?

Amenorrhea is a symptom and not a disease in itself. Therefore, amenorrhea can be prevented only to the extent that the underlying cause can be prevented. For example, amenorrhea that results from genetic or inborn conditions cannot be prevented. On the other hand, amenorrhea that results from self-imposed stringent dieting or intensive exercise is typically preventable.

What is the outlook for a woman suffering from amenorrhea?

The outlook for amenorrhea varies widely and is dependent upon the cause of the amenorrhea. Hypothalamic amenorrhea that is a result of stress, exercise, or weight loss generally can be corrected if the responsible factors can be corrected. Medical and hormonal therapies can be of great benefit in preventing unpleasant side effects or complications of amenorrhea in many women.

Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCES:

Current evaluation of amenorrhea. Fertil Steril. 2006 Nov;86(5 Suppl):S148-55.

Davis AR; Kroll R; Soltes B; Zhang N; Grubb GS; Constantine GD. Occurrence of menses or pregnancy after cessation of a continuous oral contraceptive. Fertil Steril. 2008 May;89(5):1059-63.

MedscapeReference.com. Amenorrhea, Secondary.

MedscapeReference.com. Amenorrhea, Primary.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2015

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