Lack of menstruation. Signs of primary amenorrhea (failure to start menstruating by age 16) include infantile reproductive organs, lack of breasts and pubic hair, dwarfism, and deficient muscle development. In secondary amenorrhea (abnormal cessation of cycles once started), the genitals atrophy and pubic hair diminishes. Not itself a disease, amenorrhea reflects a failure in the balance among the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovaries, and uterus; tumours, injuries, or diseases of these can lead to amenorrhea. Other causes include systemic diseases, emotional shock, stress, hormone over- or underproduction, anorexia nervosa, absence of ovaries or uterus, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. Infrequent menstruation or amenorrhea not resulting from organic disease is not harmful.
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