Premature Ovarian Failure – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment
What is a premature ovarian failure?
Premature ovarian failure (POF), also called ovarian insufficiency, refers to the loss of normal function of ovaries before age 40. Most women with POF cannot become pregnant.
What causes premature ovarian failure?
The cause of POF is not known in most cases. Premature ovarian failure may be caused by genetic factors such as chromosome abnormalities. It may also occur with certain autoimmune disorders that disrupt the normal function of the ovaries.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also cause premature ovarian failure.
What are the symptoms of premature ovarian failure?
The first symptom of POF is missed periods. Women with premature ovarian failure may develop symptoms of menopause. The following are the common symptoms:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular or absent periods
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Decreased sex drive
- Pain during sex
- Night Sweats
- Vaginal dryness
How is premature ovarian failure diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical exam and review your symptoms. The doctor may do a blood test to check your FSH level (follicle-stimulating hormone). FSH levels are higher than normal in women with premature ovarian failure.
The doctor may also do other blood tests to look for autoimmune disorders or thyroid disease.
How is premature ovarian failure treated?
There is no treatment to restore normal ovarian function. But treatments are available for some of the symptoms of POI. Your doctor can recommend treatment to reduce health risks and conditions associated with POI. Estrogen therapy is used to help relieve menopausal symptoms and prevent bone loss.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.