Amenorrhea (Stopping of Periods)
Amenorrhea is when you do not have your period (menstruation) even though you have been through puberty, you aren’t pregnant, and you haven’t gone through menopause. It is different than having periods that are irregular. There are two types of amenorrhea:
- Primary amenorrhea. Lack of period by age 15 in adolescent women.
- Secondary amenorrhea. Absence of your period for three or more months in a row in women who have previously had a period.
Amenorrhea that lasts for 12 months or longer is considered menopause (when you no longer have periods).
What can cause amenorrhea?
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 hard 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 provider?
Call your healthcare provider if you miss your normal period. They may ask you to keep track of the changes in your period. Or they may want to do some tests, including a pregnancy test, blood tests to check hormone levels, genetic tests, or an MRI.
How cancer and cancer treatment can affect fertility in females. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2022, 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
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, February 18). Amenorrhea. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amenorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20369299
Sophie Gibson, M. E., Fleming, N., Zuijdwijk, C., & Dumont, T. (2020). Where Have the Periods Gone? The Evaluation and Management of Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Journal of clinical research in pediatric endocrinology, 12(Suppl 1), 18–27. https://doi.org/10.4274/jcrpe.galenos.2019.2019.S0178