Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature ovarian failure occurs when the ovaries stop functioning normally before the usual menopausal age of around 50 years. This condition develops as a result of premature depletion of ovarian follicles. When this happens, the ovaries don't produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly, thus rendering a woman subfertile and estrogen-deficient for years, before the normal age of menopause.


Causes and Signs

Although there is no specific causal factor, premature ovarian failure can be caused due to several reasons like genetic and hereditary problems, autoimmune diseases, enzyme deficiencies or infections, and even as a side-effect of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other cancer treatments.

Signs and symptoms of primary ovarian failure are similar to those of menopause or estrogen deficiency like irregular or skipped periods, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, dry eyes, irritability, or difficulty concentrating, decreased sexual desire and so on.

Treatment of primary ovarian failure

There is no scientifically proven treatment to restore normal function to a woman's ovaries at present. But there are treatments to reduce the symptoms, lower your health risks, and treat the conditions that primary ovarian failure can cause:

Hormone replacement therapy: It is the most common treatment which gives your body the estrogen and other hormones that your ovaries are not making. This therapy also improves sexual health and decreases the risks of heart disease and osteoporosis. 

Calcium and vitamin D supplements:  Since women with primary ovarian failure are at higher risk for osteoporosis

In vitro fertilization (IVF): If you are having difficulty in getting pregnant due to this condition, you may be able to receive eggs from a donor and proceed with IVF treatment. Here fertilization is carried out by manually combining the donor egg with a sperm sample and transferring the embryo to the uterus. 

Regular physical activity: Controlling your weight by regular exercise and diet can lower your risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.