Prolonged amenorrhea and resumption of menses in women with HIV

Helen E. Cejtin, Charlesnika T. Evans, Ruth Greenblatt, Howard Minkoff, Kathleen M. Weber, Rodney Wright, Christine Colie, Elizabeth Golub, L. Stewart Massad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare etiologies of prolonged amenorrhea in a cohort of HIV-infected women with a cohort of similar uninfected at-risk women. Materials and Methods: Women from the Women's Interagency HIV Study were seen every 6 months, and completed surveys including questions about their menstruation. Those who reported no vaginal bleeding for at least 1 year ("prolonged amenorrhea") with subsequent resumption of bleeding were compared with women in whom bleeding had stopped permanently ("menopause"). Characteristics associated with reversible prolonged amenorrhea were ascertained. Results: Of 828 women with prolonged amenorrhea, 37.6% had reversible amenorrhea and 62.4% never resumed menses. HIV-seropositive women with prolonged amenorrhea were significantly younger at cessation of menses than HIV-negative women (p < 0.0001). Of those with reversible prolonged amenorrhea, approximately half were taking medications associated with amenorrhea, including 95 (30.6%) hormonal contraception, 80 (25.7%) opiates/stimulants, 16 (5.1%) psychotropic medications, and 6 (1.9%) chemotherapy. HIV-seropositive women were less likely to have medications as a cause of amenorrhea than seronegative women (p = 0.02). In multivariable analysis, women with reversible prolonged amenorrhea of unknown etiology were younger (p < 0.0001), more often obese (p = 0.03), and less educated (p = 0.01) than those with permanent amenorrhea. Among HIV-seropositive women, markers of severe immunosuppression were not associated with prolonged amenorrhea. Conclusion: Women with HIV infection have unexplained prolonged amenorrhea more often than at-risk seronegative women. This is especially common among obese, less-educated women. Prolonged amenorrhea in the HIV-seropositive women should be evaluated and not be presumed to be to the result of menopause.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1448
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • HIV
  • amenorrhea
  • anovulation
  • menopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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