Causes of Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea is not a condition or disease in itself; rather it is a symptom which may occur as a result of many other conditions. There are two classes of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. In primary amenorrhea, the woman with the condition has not had a menstrual period by the age of 16. In secondary amenorrhea, she has stopped menstruating after previously having had periods.
The most common reason for amenorrhea to occur is pregnancy, but there are many other causes, including medications, stress, low body weight or low body fat, hormonal imbalances, and scarring of the uterus or fallopian tubes. Some of these factors can prevent normal hypothalamus production, which may lead to amenorrhea.
The hypothalamus is a small area in the brain that produces several hormones, one of which is involved in stimulating ovulation and other events in the menstrual cycle. In hypothalamic amenorrhea, the hypothalamus does not produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which results in cessation of ovulation and menstruation.
In the long term, hypothalamic amenorrhea can lead to reduced estrogen production, which may put a woman at increased risk for heart disease and osteoporosis.