Health A-Z

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Primary amenorrhea caused by late puberty usually does not need to be treated. The condition will go away on its own.

For primary amenorrhea caused by genetic abnormalities, treatment depends on the problem. For example, if the ovaries are not functioning properly, you may be given supplemental ovarian hormones. These will allow development of normal secondary sex characteristics such as breasts and pubic hair.

If amenorrhea is caused by a structural problem, surgery is usually necessary. For example, a vagina that doesn't have an opening may be surgically corrected.

Secondary amenorrhea may be due to menopause or a hysterectomy. In this case, your doctor will prescribe medications. They will help prevent complications of low estrogen levels.

For other forms of secondary amenorrhea, the treatment depends on the cause.

  • Stress. Your doctor may advise you to enroll in a stress-management course.

  • Obesity. Your doctor will outline a diet and exercise program to help you lose weight and improve overall fitness.

  • Excessive athletic training. Your doctor will recommend a more moderate program. This will help normal menstruation to start again.

  • Hormone imbalance. Your doctor may prescribe supplemental hormones.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. Multiple medical treatments can help regulate menstrual periods. These include metformin and cyclical use of female hormones.

  • Tumors in the ovaries, uterus or pituitary gland. Treatment depends on the type and location of the cysts or tumors. Surgery is sometimes necessary.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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