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Premature Ovarian Failure

Also called: Ovarian insufficiency, POF, Primary ovarian insufficiency

Premature ovarian failure (POF) is when a woman's ovaries stop working before she is 40.

POF is different from premature menopause. With premature menopause, your periods stop before age 40. You can no longer get pregnant. The cause can be natural or it can be a disease, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. With POF, some women still have occasional periods. They may even get pregnant. In most cases of POF, the cause is unknown.

Missed periods are usually the first sign of POF. Later symptoms may be similar to those of natural menopause:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal dryness

Doctors diagnose POF by doing a physical exam and lab and imaging tests.

Most women with POF cannot get pregnant naturally. Fertility treatments help a few women; others use donor eggs to have children. There is no treatment that will restore normal ovarian function. However, many health care providers suggest taking hormones until age 50.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Symptoms of Premature Ovarian Failure

The following features are indicative of Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • irregular periods
  • difficulty conceiving
  • hot flashes
  • night sweats
  • vaginal dryness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • decreased sexual desire

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Common Causes of Premature Ovarian Failure

The following are the most common causes of Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • chromosomal defects
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy
  • autoimmune diseases

Risk Factors for Premature Ovarian Failure

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • people of age between 35 and 40
  • family history
  • multiple ovarian surgeries

Prevention of Premature Ovarian Failure

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Premature Ovarian Failure. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid smoking
  • regular exercise
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • eat a calcium-rich diet

Occurrence of Premature Ovarian Failure

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Premature Ovarian Failure cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Premature Ovarian Failure most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 20-40 years

Common Gender

Premature Ovarian Failure most commonly occurs in the following gender:
  • Female

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • Pelvic exam: To diagnose the premature ovarian failure
  • Pregnancy test: To determine the unexpected pregnancy in a woman who has missed a period
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test: To check the abnormally high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone in the blood
  • Estradiol test: To detect the premature ovarian failure
  • Prolactin test: To determine the irregular or absent menstrual periods
  • Karyotype: To detect the abnormalities of the chromosomes

Doctor for Diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • Endocrinologist
  • Gynecologist

Complications of Premature Ovarian Failure if untreated

Yes, Premature Ovarian Failure causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Premature Ovarian Failure is left untreated:
  • infertility
  • osteoporosis
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • heart disease
  • dementia

Procedures for Treatment of Premature Ovarian Failure

The following procedures are used to treat Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Improves the sexual health and lowers the risks for cardiovascular disease

Self-care for Premature Ovarian Failure

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • Learn about alternatives for having children: Talk to your doctor about options such as in vitro fertilization or adoption
  • Keep track of your menstrual cycle: Helps you in leading healthy life
  • Keep your bones strong by having calcium-rich diet: Helps in preventing osteoporosis
  • Talk with your doctor about the best contraception options

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Premature Ovarian Failure

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Premature Ovarian Failure:
  • Take Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements: Helps in preventing osteoporosis

Patient Support for Treatment of Premature Ovarian Failure

The following actions may help Premature Ovarian Failure patients:
  • Be open with your partner: Share your feelings with your partner
  • Explore your options: Find alternative ways to expand your family
  • Emotional Support: Helps in overcoming the emotional distress

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Premature Ovarian Failure.

Related Topics

Menopause
Menstruation

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