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Amenorrhea (cont.)

Amenorrhea Causes

Amenorrhea can result because of an abnormality in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, anatomical abnormalities of the genital tract, or functional causes.

Hypothalamic causes

  • Craniopharyngioma (a brain tumor near the pituitary gland)
  • Teratoma (a tumor made up of a mixture of tissues)
  • Sarcoidosis (a chronic disease of unknown cause characterized by the formation of nodules in different parts of the body)
  • Kallmann syndrome (deficiency of gonadotropins, which are hormones capable of promoting growth and function of reproductive organs)
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Low body weight or growth delay

Pituitary causes

  • Prolactinemia (high blood levels of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates secretion of milk from the breasts during breastfeeding) - possibly caused by prolactinoma (a tumor of the pituitary gland secreting the hormone prolactin)
  • Other pituitary tumors (for example, Cushing syndrome, acromegaly, or thyroid-stimulating hormone)
  • Postpartum pituitary necrosis (death of pituitary cells after a woman delivers a baby)
  • Autoimmune hypophysitis (cells of the pituitary gland destroyed by the body’s own defense system)
  • Pituitary radiation
  • Sarcoidosis

Ovarian causes

  • Anovulation (lack of the release of an egg)
  • Hyperandrogenemia (high blood levels of male hormones)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (hormonal disorder affecting women of reproductive age)
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Turner syndrome (a genetic disorder characterized by underdeveloped ovaries, absence of menstrual onset, and short stature)
  • Pure gonadal dysgenesis (defective development of the ovary)
  • Autoimmune oophoritis (cells of the ovaries destroyed by the body’s own defense system)
  • Fragile X premutation
  • Radiation or chemotherapy
  • Galactosemia (an inherited disorder in which galactose, a type of sugar, accumulates in the blood)
  • Anatomical abnormalities of the genital tract
  • Intrauterine adhesions (the opposing surfaces of the uterine cavity stick together)
  • Imperforate hymen (a hymen in which there is no opening, the membrane completely closes off the vagina)
  • Transverse vaginal septum (a dividing wall or membrane in the vagina)
  • Aplasia (absence of an organ or tissue) of the vagina, the cervix, or the uterus

Functional causes

  • Anorexia/bulimia
  • Chronic diseases (for example, tuberculosis)
  • Excessive weight gain or weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Depression or other psychiatric disorders
  • Recreational drug abuse
  • Psychotropic drug use (drugs prescribed to stabilize or improve mood, mental status, or behavior)
  • Excessive stress
  • Excessive exercise
  • Cycle suppression with systemic hormonal contraceptive (birth control) pills
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Amenorrhea - Causes

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Amenorrhea, Primary »

Primary amenorrhea is the failure of menses to occur by age 16 years, in the presence of normal growth and secondary sexual characteristics.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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