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Menstruation: Not Having a Period by Age 15 - Topic Overview

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.

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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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