Amenorrhea (Stopping of Periods)

Author: OncoLink Team
Last Reviewed:

What is amenorrhea?

Amenorrhea is defined as the absence of menses (your period) for three or more consecutive months in women who had previously menstruated, or lack of menstruation by age 15 in adolescent women. Amenorrhea that lasts for 12 months or longer is considered menopause.

A common cause of amenorrhea is ovarian failure. This can be due to surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or radiation therapy that involves the ovaries. Amenorrhea may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. It is not always easy to predict if periods will return. If you are sexually active, be sure to use effective birth control, even if you are not having regular periods. If you believe you may have become pregnant while receiving cancer treatment, tell your healthcare provider right away.

When should I call my care team?

Call your care provider if you miss your normal menstrual cycle, and tell them how many months this has occurred.

References

American Cancer Society. How Cancer Treatments Can Affect Fertility in Women. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/fertility-and-sexual-side-effects/fertility-and-women-with-cancer/how-cancer-treatments-affect-fertility.html

Ewertz M, Jensen AB.Late effects of breast cancer treatment and potentials for rehabilitation. Acta Oncologica. 2011; 50(2):  187-193.

Letourneau JM, Ebbel EE, Katz PP, Oktay KH, McCulloch CE,  Ai, WZ, Rosen, MP. Acute ovarian failure underestimates age‐specific reproductive impairment for young women undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Cancer. 2012; 118(7): 1933-1939.

Mayo Clinic. Symptoms and Causes. Amenorrhea. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amenorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20369299

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