Which ovarian disorders can cause secondary amenorrhea?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Kristi A Tough DeSapri, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Answer

Symptoms of vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, or disordered sleep may be a sign of ovarian insufficiency or premature ovarian failure. The presence of these symptoms in young women demands further evaluation in a timely manner. A prior history of chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be associated with ovarian failure.

Autoimmune oophoritis may be associated with autoimmune adrenal insufficiency, a potentially fatal condition that often manifests as vague and nonspecific symptoms. Loss of menstrual regularity may be the first clear symptom indicating a need for further evaluation to detect this condition.

PCOS is one of the most common causes of secondary amenorrhea. The two most commonly used definitions of PCOS are the Rotterdam criteria [29] and the Androgen Excess and PCOS (AE-PCOS) Society criteria. [30] Both recognize menstrual cycle irregularity and polycystic-appearing ovaries on ultrasonographic examination as defining characteristics of PCOS, but the Rotterdam criteria does not require androgen expression, while the AE-PCOS Society criteria requires increased androgen  expression or serum elevations. In 2012, a National Institutes of Health committee on PCOS sided with the broad diagnosis set forth by the Rotterdam committee.


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