ZocdocAnswersWhy have I yet to experience a menstrual cycle?

Question

Why have I yet to experience a menstrual cycle?

I'm a 17 year-old girl and have yet to experience a menstrual cycle. Although people tell me that I'll "have it eventually", I'm beginning to worry. I Have already developed breasts, hips and have experienced vaginal discharge for several years now. Why do you think I have not had my period yet? In addition, I've been told that eating disorders can effect your menstrual cycle. I recently recovered from Anorexia Nervosa over the past year. Could this be a factor in my situation? Thanks.

Answer

I am sorry you are experiencing these symptoms. I encourage you to arrange an appointment with a gynecologist, as it is not possible to provide a definitive diagnosis without an in-person evaluation. The age of onset of menstruation varies significantly. However, based on the fact that you have experienced breast development and hip enlargement, you have already started undergoing puberty, and menstruation typically begins during this. Many factors affect menstruation. Abnormalities of different hormone levels can affect the onset of menstruation. In addition, abnormalities of the ovaries or the endometrium (lining of the uterus) can affect menstruation. I encourage you to discuss these possibilities with a gynecologist. You may require blood tests to measure hormones, and in some instances, you may require an ultrasound of your ovaries. A low level of body fat, as often seen in athletic women or those with anorexia. I think it is certainly possible this is the cause of your delayed menstruation. Women often experience normal menstruation as their weight increases to normal levels. I strongly encourage you to discuss this possibility with a gynecologist. It would also be beneficial for you to discuss this with a psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorders to ensure you do not have further issues in the future.

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