Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), also known as Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is the term used for the condition when the ovary does not function properly in women before the age of 40. This means women don’t ovulate on a regular basis or produce normal amounts of estrogen. Approximately 1 in every 1000 women between the ages of 15-29 and 1 in every 100 women between the ages of 30-39 have premature ovarian failure (POF). POF put women at risk of many health issues including osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. Importantly, POF is common cause of infertility as women with spontaneous POF have a few healthy nests of eggs left in their ovaries, affecting the possibility to conceive.
Sometimes people call POF as early menopause, but it is actually different because women with POF still have menstrual cycles but their cycles are irregular or occasional. Thus, a small number of women can get pregnant while menopausal women stop having periods and can’t become pregnant.
One cause of premature ovarian failure is associated with genetic conditions; that is chromosomal defects (Turner’s syndrome). Others come from the problem like autoimmunity, surgical loss of excessive ovarian tissue, chemotherapy and radiation.
Symptoms of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
· Irregular or skipped periods (amenorrhea)
· Hot flashes
· Night sweats
· Vaginal dryness
· Irritability or difficulty concentrating
· Decreased sexual desire
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is typically used to treat women with premature ovarian failure helping to restore the level of hormones. It is assumed that the level of progesterone and estrogen will enable women with POF to have normal menstrual cycles again. Hormone replacement therapy is also thought to prevent heart diseases and dementia in the long run. In term of infertility, in vitro fertilization with a donor egg is a good option.