The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman's body goes through to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Most girls start having periods between the ages of 11 and 15.
A girl who has not had her first period by age 15 has what is called primary amenorrhea. This is different from infrequent or light menstrual cycles, which are very common in teen girls, particularly in the first couple of years after menstruation begins. Primary amenorrhea is also different than if a girl starts having periods, but then stops having periods for at least 3 cycles.
Causes of primary amenorrhea include:
If no problem can be found to explain why you are not having periods, your doctor may prescribe birth control pills to help control your cycle. These will also help keep your bones strong, reducing your risk for brittle bones (osteoporosis). Your doctor also may prescribe calcium supplements to help ensure that your bones stay healthy.
Girls who have not begun to develop breasts or pubic hair by age 14 may have an increased chance of having amenorrhea.
You can still become pregnant even though you are not menstruating. Practice birth control if you do not wish to become pregnant.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||June 20, 2011|
Last Revised: June 20, 2011
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