Amenorrhoea (BE), amenorrhea (AmE), or amenorrhœa, is the absence of a menstrual period in a woman of reproductive age. Physiological states of amenorrhoea are seen, most commonly, during pregnancy and lactation (breastfeeding), the latter also forming the basis of a form of contraception known as the lactational amenorrhoea method.
The subsiding of the causal syndrome is usually enough to restore menses after a few months. Secondary amenorrhea may also be caused by outflow tract obstruction, often related to Asherman's Syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause secondary amenorrhea, although the link between the two is not well understood. Ovarian failure related to early onset menopause can cause secondary amenorrhea, and although the condition can usually be treated, it is not always reversible.
In preindustrial societies, menarche typically occurred later than in current industrial societies. After menarche, menstruation was suppressed during much of a woman's reproductive life by either pregnancy or nursing. Reductions in age of menarche and lower fertility rates mean that modern women menstruate far more often than they did under the conditions prevalent for most of human evolutionary history.