Missing or absent menstrual periods, when not due to pregnancy, usually have a hormonal cause.
One of the most common of these is menopause, in which a woman stops having periods because her ovaries are no longer producing estrogen. Other reasons for absent menstrual periods include:
- Lack of ovulation
- Excess prolactin secretion by the brain
- Thyroid disorders
- Eating disorders
- Excessive exercise
Rarely, absent menstrual periods can be caused by scarring of the uterine cavity as a result of a medical curettage procedure.
You may be experiencing an abnormal menstrual cycle if:
- your menstrual cycle is longer than 31 to 35 days apart
- day one of your period to day one of your next period is shorter than two weeks
- you need to change tampons or sanitary pads after only one or two hours
- your period lasts longer than 7 days
- you suddenly begin experiencing severe menstrual cramps
See your health care provider if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Treatment options are selected once the cause of the infrequent or absent menstrual periods has been identified. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes, such as moderation of diet or exercise habits, and hormonal medications such as oral contraceptive pills, thyroid medication or estrogen replacement therapy.