The absence of menstrual periods is referred to as amenorrhoea.
If a young woman hasn't shown any signs of puberty (such as starting to grow breasts and dark pubic hair) by the age of 14 or hasn't started having periods by 16, she should see a doctor. For most, it's just late puberty, but it's important to be sure.
Women who have regular monthly periods that stop for more than three months and women who have periods that come at odd times should see a doctor. Often, a serious cause isn't found. The most common cause of amenorrhoea is when the body’s hormones are disrupted, which can happen because of emotional stress, losing or gaining a lot of weight, or exercising too much (referred to as athletic amenorrhoea).
For a doctor to diagnose amenorrhoea, all other possible causes, including certain reproductive disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), need to be eliminated first.
Treatment for amenorrhoea depends on the cause and may include exercising less or, in some cases (if overweight), recommending weight loss. Starting hormone therapy (HT) may also be an option.
Organisations that specialise in this area of reproductive and/or sexual health
Where to get more information, support or advice
- Contact your local doctor (GP)
- Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics
- Visit Better Health Channel