Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During your appointment, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to check for any problems with your reproductive organs. If you've never had a period, your doctor may examine your breasts and genitals to see if you're experiencing the normal changes of puberty. Amenorrhea can encompass a complex set of hormonal problems. Finding the underlying cause can take time and may require more than one kind of testing.

Lab tests

A variety of blood tests may be necessary, including:

  • Pregnancy test. This will probably be the first test your doctor suggests, to rule out or confirm a possible pregnancy.
  • Thyroid function test. Measuring the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood can determine if your thyroid is working properly.
  • Ovary function test. Measuring the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your blood can determine if your ovaries are working properly.
  • Male hormone test. If you're experiencing increased facial hair and a lowered voice, your doctor may want to check the level of male hormones in your blood.

Hormone challenge test

For this test, you take a hormonal medication for seven to 10 days to trigger menstrual bleeding. Results from this test can tell your doctor whether your periods have stopped due to a lack of estrogen.

Imaging tests

Depending on your signs and symptoms — and the result of any blood tests you've had — your doctor might recommend one or more imaging tests, including:

  • Ultrasound. This painless test uses sound waves to produce images of internal organs. If you have never had a period, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound test to see if all your reproductive organs are present.
  • Computerized tomography (CT). CT scans combine many X-ray images taken from different directions to create cross-sectional views of internal structures. A CT scan can indicate whether your uterus, ovaries and kidneys look normal.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI utilizes radio waves with a strong magnetic field to produce exceptionally detailed images of soft tissues within the body. Your doctor may order an MRI to check for a pituitary tumor.

Scope tests

If other testing reveals no specific cause, your doctor may recommend a hysteroscopy — a test in which a thin, lighted camera is passed through your vagina and cervix to look at the inside of your uterus.

May. 17, 2011