Psychoneuroendocrine correlates of secondary amenorrhea

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2003 Apr;6(2):83-9. doi: 10.1007/s00737-002-0152-4.


Functional hypothalamic amenorrhea is a common, non-organic and theoretically reversible form of anovulation due to reduced hypothalamic GnRH drive. Numerous studies suggest that this altered hypothalamic homeostasis is caused by a synergism between psychogenic challenge, promoted in part by dysfunctional attitudes, and metabolic compromise induced by undernutrition and overexercise. The recent growing interest in psychiatric comorbidity underlines the importance of reconsidering the boundaries between psychological disorders and somatic conditions. That not withstanding, it is mandatory in gynecological endocrinology to explore the issue of secondary amenorrhea from a psychoneuroendocrine perspective in order to devise biopsychosocial interventions which address the individual distress. In this brief review we will try to critically discuss the issue providing evidences from personal studies as clues for better understanding the extent of the complex psychoneuroendocrine network controlling menstrual function.

MeSH terms

  • Amenorrhea / metabolism*
  • Amenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Amenorrhea / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / deficiency*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone