A sudden absence of your menstrual period is called secondary amenorrhea. Depending on the cause of amenorrhea, you might experience other signs or symptoms along with the absence of periods, such as milky nipple discharge, headache, vision changes, or excessive hair growth on your face and torso (hirsutism), according to the Mayo Clinic. There are several possible reasons for secondary amenorrhea.
In women of reproductive age, pregnancy is the most common cause of amenorrhea, the Mayo Clinic reports. You will not experience a shedding of the uterine lining (menstruation) during pregnancy. Pick up a home pregnancy test at your local drug store. If you are pregnant contact your obstetrician for care. If you are otherwise healthy and have missed your period for three months and are not pregnant, it is time to see your gynecologist to determine the cause of amenorrhea.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
According to Merck, polycystic ovary syndrome (characterized by irregular or no periods, obesity, high levels of male hormones and often cysts in the ovaries) may be a cause of secondary infertility. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome and have lost your menses, contact your gynecologist for follow-up care. She may prescribe you progesterone for a few days to bring back your period. Oral contraceptives may be recommended by your physician to help regulate your menstrual cycle.
Contraceptives (birth control) may lead to amenorrhea. The hormones that are present in your pills may cause a decrease in menstruation. Contraceptives that are injected or implanted also may cause amenorrhea as can progesterone-containing intrauterine devices, the Mayo Clinic reports. If you are on birth control and miss your period, take a home pregnancy test to make sure that you are not pregnant. No contraceptive provides 100 percent protection against pregnancy, continuing to take your birth control when pregnant may be dangerous for your baby.
Antipsychotics, oral corticosteroids, antidepressants and chemotherapy may cause amenorrhea. Check with your health care provider regarding the side effects of your medication.
Decrease in Body Weight
Excessively low body weight interrupts many hormonal functions in your body, potentially halting ovulation, the Mayo Clinic states. Extreme exercise may also halt ovulation and stop your menstrual periods. Women with anorexia and bulimia frequently suffer from amenorrhea.
According to Merck, stress interferes with the brain's control (through hormones) of the ovaries. This may lead to amenorrhea. Any stressful situation may cause a lack of menstruation that can last until the situation is resolved.