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Definition of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea: Absence or cessation of menstruation. Amenorrhea is conventionally divided into primary and secondary amenorrhea.

  • Primary amenorrhea -- menstruation never takes place. It fails to occur at puberty.
  • Secondary amenorrhea -- menstruation starts but then stops.

The absence of menstruation during pregnancy is a form of physiologic secondary amenorrhea, physiologic in the sense that it is completely normal and is not caused by anything medically harmful (pathologic). Amenorrhea during lactation is another type of physiologic secondary amenorrhea.

The word "amenorrhea" is compounded from three Greek roots "a-", no + "men", month + "rhoia", flow = no monthly flow. Amenorrhea is less commonly called amenia.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6993
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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