Absent periods are referred to as amenorrhea. There are two types of amenorrhea, primary and secondary.
Primary amenorrhea is when, as a teenage girl, your periods never start. Normally, menstruation can begin at any time between the 8 and 16 years old, with the average age in the United States being 12 years old.
So if you’ve turned 17 and you haven’t started yet, you should go to the doctor for further investigations.
If you haven’t had any kind of sexual development (i.e. breast growth and pubic hair) by the age of 14, you should also seek medical advice.
You aren’t alone, as primary amenorrhea happens to 3 in every 1,000 girls. Reasons for primary amenorrhea are:
A lot of girls believe that you can’t get pregnant if you haven’t started your period yet but this isn’t true. If you go through your first ovulation and have sexual intercourse with a boy, you can get pregnant before the arrival of your first period.
• Diseases of the pituitary gland
The pituitary gland controls hormone production and these hormones are an instruction manual for your body. They tell it what to do. If there is something wrong with the gland and with hormone production, then your body doesn’t receive the right instructions for starting your period.
• Gonadal dysgenesis
This is the most common reason that a girl may not start her period. This is a condition where the ovaries are depleted of follicles and eggs. It can lead to premature ovarian failure before the first period can even begin.
• Genetic conditions such as Turner syndrome
In Turner syndrome the girl is lacking one of her X chromosomes, or part of a chromosome. This results in scar tissue formation over the ovaries. Not enough estrogen is produced, preventing periods from occurring. Girls with Turner syndrome may not have fully developed genitals or breasts.
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome
This is a condition where cysts develop on the ovaries. It may prevent ovulation or cause irregular ovulation.
• Eating disorders