Which autoimmune disorders can cause amenorrhea?

Updated: Oct 14, 2019
  • Author: Kristi A Tough DeSapri, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Autoimmune adrenal insufficiency is a rare disorder and a potentially fatal condition, often manifesting as vague and gradually evolving nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, anorexia, and weight loss. Occasionally, an acute crisis can become life threatening, owing to the sudden interruption of a normal or hyperfunctioning adrenal or pituitary gland or a sudden interruption of adrenal replacement therapy. Clinical suspicion mandates appropriate diagnostic screening and early intervention with sodium chloride–containing fluids and hydrocortisone replacement. Long-term management of patients with adrenal insufficiency requires an experienced specialist as management can be challenging. All clinicians should have some basic knowledge of when to suspect and begin the diagnostic workup of suspected acute adrenal failure. [32]

Amenorrhea may herald the onset of other autoimmune endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or autoimmune lymphocytic hypophysitis. The same is true for other endocrine disorders such as Cushing syndrome or pheochromocytoma. A careful review of symptoms may help uncover these disorders.

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