When Menstrual Periods Stop

The disappearance of periods in a woman of reproductive age is called amenorrhea.

If menstrual periods never started, this is referred to as primary amenorrhea. When periods have become established and then stop occurring, doctors refer to this as secondary amenorrhea.

Amenorrhea of either type always requires medical evaluation.

This decision guide is designed to help women with secondary amenorrhea understand what may be causing it and the questions your doctor will want to ask.

Click here to begin.

The most common cause of amenorrhea is pregnancy. The standard initial test for all women with secondary amenorrhea is a urine or blood pregnancy test. Even if you do a home pregnancy test and it is negative, your doctor will probably want to repeat it.

Assuming that you are not pregnant, the pattern of your periods before they stopped provides clues to possible causes.

Before your periods stopped, had they been fairly regular?

Yes, I used to have regular periods.

No, my periods were never regular.

Excess male hormones (androgens) can influence the regularity of your menstrual periods. One sign of high male hormone levels is the appearance of excess body and facial hair in unfamiliar places (called hirsutism).

Have you noticed increased hair on your body or face recently?

Yes, I have an excessive amount of hair.

No, my hair pattern seems normal.

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