What is premature ovarian failure?
Premature Ovarian Failure is when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs before the age 40. Premature ovarian failure occurs in 1% of women. Some women may experience early ovarian failure in their younger years. The functions of the ovary include producing eggs and secreting the estrogen hormone. For this reason, ovarian dysfunction also affects the production of estrogen.
What are the sign of premature ovarian failure?
The signs of premature ovarian failure are very similar to that of the menopause. Symptoms include vaginal dryness, tenderness, hot flashes, night sweats and difficulty in sleeping. Menstruation becomes irregular or can stop altogether. The reason for these symptoms is that the estrogen level in the body becomes low due to the ovaries not working properly.
What causes premature ovarian failure?
In many women, the cause of premature ovarian failure is unclear. It can be seen more often in some families. It may be associated with immune diseases that particularly affect the thyroid gland. It may occur as a result of some genetic diseases (such as Turner syndrome or Fragile X syndrome). It can also occur after radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy within the scope of cancer treatments.
What are the risks of premature ovarian failure?
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, low estrogen levels increase the risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) and early heart disease. Depression can also occur in women with premature ovarian failure. If premature ovarian failure is occurring because of genetic reason, then it may be genetically transmitted to your children.
How is premature ovarian failure diagnosed?
Premature ovarian failure is diagnosed by measuring hormone levels (such as FSH and E2) in the blood. Some chromosome analyses may also be required in patients with genetic predisposition. Measuring bone density in patients diagnosed with early ovarian failure due to osteoporosis is also appropriate.
Can premature ovarian failure be treated or reversed?
Early ovarian failure that occurs after radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy may resolve on its own after sometime. Premature ovarian failure of an unknown cause or genetic cause may not be reversible. Your doctor may recommend hormone therapy to alleviate the symptoms of premature ovarian failure.