Secondary amenorrhea is most commonly caused by pregnancy. But in nonpregnant women, amenorrhea may result from a variety of factors, including an existing medical condition, lifestyle, emotional distress, hormonal irregularity, or medication. Every effort should be made to determine the exact cause. Specific causes of amenorrhea include:
- Dramatic weight loss, particularly from drastic diets, eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia , or excessive exercise
- Dramatic weight gain or morbid obesity
- Birth defects including lack of a uterus, vagina, or other reproductive organs
- Medical conditions including cystic fibrosis , Cushing's disease , polycystic ovary , or Prader-Willi syndrome
- Psychological stress—can lead to a hormonal imbalance sufficient to cause amenorrhea.
- Medications—some antidepressants, chemotherapeutics, corticosteroids, certain contraceptives.
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Hermaphroditism (having both male and female reproductive organs)
- Pituitary tumor
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Uterine scarring
Women who eat a diet that doesn’t provide sufficient caloric intake, exercise excessively, or suffer under considerable psychological distress are more likely to experience amenorrhea.
Women born with chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities, as well as those who suffer from certain chronic diseases, are also more likely to experience amenorrhea.
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