Amenorrhea in Teenagers: Types, Causes and Symptoms


Amenorrhea is the absence of menstrual periods (one or more missed periods).

In this article:

Types of Amenorrhea in Teenagers
Symptoms  of Amenorrhea in Teenagers
Causes of Amenorrhea in Teenagers
Is it Normal for a Teenager to Have an Irregular Period?
What is the Most Common Cause for Secondary Amenorrhea?
A Girl Doesn’t Get Her Period By 16?
Is it Normal to Miss a Period when you are a Teenager?


All You Need to Know about Amenorrhea in Teenagers

Types of Amenorrhea in Teenagers

It is of two types


Primary Amenorrhea

It is a condition in which a woman never developed menstrual periods. When the first menstrual bleeding at puberty doesn’t occur by age 16 and it may be lifelong. It is seen rarely. The main cause for this is genetics, family history and lifestyle.

Secondary Amenorrhea

It is a condition in which the absence of menstrual periods in a woman who was previously menstruating and the normal menstrual bleeding stops occurring for 3 months or more. This may be because of a physical cause and usually happens later in life.

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Symptoms  of Amenorrhea in Teenagers

The basic symptom for amenorrhea is absence of monthly period. Some of the other symptoms can include –

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Causes of Amenorrhea in Teenagers

Amenorrhea can occur due to variety of causes some are normal during the course of a woman’s life while others may be a side effect of medication or a sign of a medical problem.

  • Medications such as antipsychotics, cancer chemotherapy, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and antiallergics.
  • Lifestyle factors such as –

Low body weight – excessively low body weight about 10 percent under normal weight interrupts many hormonal functions in the body, potentially halting ovulation. Women who have an eating disorder like anorexia, often stop having periods because of these abnormal hormonal changes.

Excessive exercise – women who participate in activities that require rigorous training such as ballet, may find menstrual cycles interrupted. Several factors combine to contribute to the loss of periods in athletes, including low body fat, stress and high energy expenditure.

Stress – mental stress can temporarily alter the functioning of the hypothalamus an area in the brain that controls the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. Ovulation and menstruation may stop as a result. After the stress decreases usually regular periods resume.

  • Hormonal balance – many types of medical problems can cause hormonal imbalance like –

Polycystic ovary syndrome causes relatively high and sustained levels of hormones, rather than the fluctuating levels seen in the normal menstrual cycle.


Thyroid malfunction – an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) can cause menstrual irregularities including amenorrhea.

Pituitary tumor – a noncancerous (benign) tumor in the pituitary gland can interfere with the hormonal regulation of menstruation.

Premature menopausemenopause is seen around age 50. But in some women, the ovarian supply of eggs diminishes before age 40 and menstruation stops.

  • Structural problems – problems with the sexual organs themselves also can cause amenorrhea which include –

Uterine scarring – asherman’s syndrome, a condition in which scar tissue builds up in the lining of the uterus can sometimes occur after a dilation and curettage (D&C), cesarean section or treatment for uterine fibroids.

Lack of reproductive organs – sometimes problems arise during fetal development that cause a girl being born without some major part of the reproductive system such as uterus, cervix or vagina. Because the reproductive system didn’t develop normally and can’t have menstrual cycles.

Structural abnormality of the vagina – an obstruction of the vagina may prevent visible period bleeding.


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Is it Normal for a Teenager to Have an Irregular Period?

It is quite normal for some girls to have irregular periods during the first year of menstruation. However it’s not normal if a teenager misses period for 3 to 5 months in a row, especially if period was regular for some months before that. If this condition goes beyond 3 months, better to consult the doctor. The causes for irregular periods are –

  • Medications
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Over exercise
  • Poor nutrition
  • Drug use
  • Eating disorder
  • Increased stress

What is the Most Common Cause for Secondary Amenorrhea?

Menstruation may stop for a number of reasons which include –

  • Weight loss, exercise and stress – serious weight loss can result from a physical illness or an eating disorder. Stringent exercise can cause secondary amenorrhea. It is common in competitive long distance runners and professional ballet dancers. Severe emotional or extreme stress can also cause a woman’s periods to stop.
  • Medications – some medications like progesterone only contraceptives and a number of psychiatric drugs may cause periods to stop. Other medications that affect menstruation are antipsychotics, cancer chemotherapy, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and allergy medications.
  • Long term health conditions – it can also result from a long-term illness such as polycystic ovary syndrome, premature ovarian failure and thalamic pituitary problems.


A Girl Doesn’t Get Her Period By 16?

A girl’s period normally begins about 2 to 2.5 years after first signs of puberty and usually get first periods till the age of 15. However, it may vary as it can be a little earlier or later than others.

Just because a girl is 16 and haven’t got period doesn’t necessarily mean that anything’s wrong. There might be other reasons for not getting first period. It may be because of hormonal imbalance, eating disorders, stress and other illness which can delay periods.

For proper reason talk to the doctor and get the treatment done.

Is it Normal to Miss a Period when you are a Teenager?

Yes, it is normal to miss a period when you are a teenager. But if period doesn’t occur again then there is cause for this. It can be due to –

  • A family history of amenorrhea or early menopause
  • A genetic or chromosomal defect
  • Severely over or underweight
  • An eating disorder
  • An extreme exercise pattern
  • A poor diet
  • Stress



Consult the doctor if missed at least three menstrual periods in a row or never had a menstrual period which age of 15 or older.


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