What is amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is the absence of a monthly period. It can be primary or secondary. Primary amenorrhea is when a young woman’s period fails to start by age 16. Secondary amenorrhea is when a woman who has been having monthly periods, stops having them.
What causes amenorrhea?
Amenorrhea is expected and is normal during pregnancy, breast-feeding and menopause. At other times the absence of periods may be caused by a number of things, changes in weight (up or down), changes in exercise levels, stress, a hormone imbalance, oral contraceptives, medications, thyroid or pituitary problems, or uterine scarring.
When should I see a doctor?
If you are 16 years old and have never started a period. If you were previously having normal periods and they have stopped, but not for any of the normal reasons mentioned above.
What it a Pap smear?
A pap smear is a brushing to obtain cells from the cervix. These cells are then viewed under a microscope by a pathologist who looks for abnormalities.
When should I have a pap smear?
Previous recommendations from the Am. Congress of Ob/Gyn (ACOG) stated that a woman should have her first pap smear at age 21 or within 3 years of becoming sexually active. Those recommendations have been changed to simply state that a woman should begin having pap smears at age 21. When a woman is sexually active she should be examined at least yearly to evaluate for sexually transmitted diseases.