Can I get amenorrhea if I am not sexually active?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

You can get amenorrhea even if not sexually active. Secondary amenorrhea is when, after being regular, periods stop. The most common cause is pregnancy. However hormonal causes including thyroid disorders and hormonal messaging problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome can cause periods to stop. Pituitary tumors, most often seen in younger women, may cause periods to stop. Primary amenorrhea is if periods have not begun by age 16 and this also has multiple causes. See your healthcare clinician if you have primary amenorrhea or if your periods stop for more than 3 months.

You do not have to be sexually active to experience amenorrhea. Although pregnancy is one of the most common causes of amenorrhea, there are many other conditions that can cause a lack of menstruation. Primary amenorrhea is diagnosed when menstruation has not started by age 16 and is usually caused by a genetic disorder or birth defect that stifles the effects of puberty. Other causes include: malnutrition, excessive exercise or excessive stress, illness, certain drugs, hormonal imbalances, uterine scarring, or even premature menopause. See your doctor about treatment options for any of these causes.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.