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A to Z: Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is when a girl is not getting her period.

More to Know

The two types of amenorrhea are:

  1. Primary amenorrhea: Doctors look for this if a girl does not start her period by age 15 or 3 years after she begins puberty.
  2. Secondary amenorrhea: This is when a girl who had been getting her period stops menstruating for more than 6 months or for more than three of her usual cycles.

Amenorrhea can have many different causes, which include pregnancy, hormone imbalances, stress, thyroid conditions, ovarian cysts, being too thin, and long-term illness. Girls who exercise intensively may miss periods if they don't get enough calories in their diet. Primary amenorrhea can have other causes, too, such as genetics or a problem with the way the reproductive organs developed.

Keep in Mind

Treatment may help periods start or return. Depending on the cause, this might include medication, stress reduction, dietary changes, or reducing excessive exercise. In a few instances, surgery might be recommended.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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