Amenorrhea is the lack of menstrual flow and can be a normal occurrence or a sign of malfunction or disease. In primary amenorrhea, menstruation does not begin when expected (by the age of 16). Secondary amenorrhea occurs when the normal established menstrual cycle is shut down for 6 or more months due to a condition other than pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause.
Review Date 6/13/2014
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.