What is Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency?

Premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency can be defined as a failure of the normal functioning of the ovaries before attaining the age of forty. The failed ovaries cannot release eggs regularly and they also cannot generate normal estrogen levels. Premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency results in infertility.

What is Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency?

Premature Ovarian Failure and Pregnancy. Can Women with this Condition Get Pregnant?

If the condition of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency is spontaneous then the patient has a chance of ovulation and becoming pregnant as there will be few follicles and eggs left in the ovary, otherwise it is not possible.

What is the Difference Between Premature Menopause and Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency?

In the condition of premature menopause the patients will no longer have periods before the age of 40 years and cannot bear children, while in the illness of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency the sufferers might have an occasional periods and in few cases they may even get pregnant. This is the primary difference.

Causes of Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

The exact cause of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency is not known yet. In those females with healthy ovarian behavior, their pituitary gland discharges particular types of hormones amid the current menstrual cycle that results in many small eggs that have follicles inside ovaries start maturing. At times only 1 or 2 follicles reach maturity every single month and on maturing, the follicle opens and releases an egg. It is inside fallopian tube that the egg enters. Premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency is a result of the failure of these eggs and the possible causes could be as follows:

  • Chromosomal defects causes premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. Many sorts of genetic disorders have been linked to premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. These consist of an altered second X chromosome, a mosaic turner disease. It is in this that patient has only one normal behaving chromosome of X type as well as fragile X syndrome. It is here that the X chromosomes break as they are fragile.
  • Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are a common cause of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. These sorts of treatments will destroy the genetic material inside the cells. Additional toxicants like chemicals, cigarette smoke, viruses and pesticides will fasten the ovarian failure.
  • Unknown factors may also cause premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. You may also thrive out premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. There are also no noted chromosomal flaws, autoimmune disease or toxin exposure. It is your doctor who will suggest further examinations to know the exact cause, in certain cases however the causes are not known.

Symptoms of Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

The symptoms of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency are as follows:

  • Hot flashes.
  • Irritability.
  • Painful intercourse.
  • In premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency, your periods will become more irregular and very farther apart.
  • Night sweats.
  • Drying of the vagina.
  • Unable to focus or concentrate.

Tests to Diagnose Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

There are many women who hold few symptoms of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. The diagnosis usually consists of a physical checkup and a pelvic checkup. You may be asked questions by your doctor with regards to the current menstrual cycle, vulnerability to toxins like radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Here are some tests which may be recommended by your doctor:

  • Pregnancy test looks for accidental pregnancy.
  • Estradiol test is conducted for the diagnosis. The blood level of estradiol which is a sort of estrogen which emanates from the ovaries. It is very low in women with premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency.
  • In Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) exam for premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency diagnosis the doctor will check the FSG hormone levels which are dischanged by your pituitary gland which in turn trigger the production of follicles in your ovaries. Victims of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency has high FSH in their blood.
  • Karyotype is a test which has the ability to examine chromosomes for flaws. It will be possible for you to get 1 X-chromosome in place of 2 or some other chromosomal flaws.
  • Prolactin test is also in diagnosis of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. Enhanced blood levels of prolactin are hormones that stimulate the production of breast milk. It can result in complications with ovulation, including absent or irregular menstrual periods.

Treatment for Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency treatment is directed towards fixing the issues that are caused by defiency in estrogen.

Hot flashes & osteoporosis are prevented by using estrogen therapy. If the patient has uterus then along with estrogen therapy a progesterone is also prescribed by the doctor. Before going with estrogen therapy, it is better that the patient understands the side effects of the therapy.

Another way to treat premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency is by the intake of Vitamin D supplements and Calcium supplements which are helpful in the prevention of osteoporosis.

The above treatment methods cannot help you with the problems of infertility which is the complication of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. An alternative way to treat the problem of infertility is by making use of vitro fertilization.

Prevention of Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

The premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency cannot be prevented as it cannot be predicted. There are few things you can do in general to prevent the chances of this illness like avoiding hysterectomy, smoking, uterine artery embolisation will help in prevention.

Risk Factors for Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Factors which are likely to enhance the risk of you developing this dreaded disease include:

  • If you are in the age group between 35 & 40 then you are at a greater risk if developing premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. It is not uncommon that adolescents and younger women can have this condition.
  • If you have this condition in your family then also it increases the risk of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency.
  • Ovarian endometriosis which requires replicate surgeries to the female ovaries also enhances the risk factor of having this dreaded disease.

Complications of Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

  • Infertility is a complication. If you are unable to become pregnant then it is the complication of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. There are however there are rare cases until the eggs are completely gone making pregnancy to be possible.
  • There are however there are rare cases until the eggs are depleted making pregnancy to be possible.
  • Dementia can be a complication of premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. Lack of estrogen can result in dementia.
  • The complication of infertility that emanates from low levels of estrogen hormone can lead to many of the women becoming depressed and develop anxiety.
  • Premature loss of the hormone estrogen can enhance your risk of heart disease.
  • Osteoporosis is a major complication of premature ovarian failure. Strong bones are maintained with the help of the hormone estrogen. If as women you have low levels of estrogen then you have more chances of having brittle and weak bones.

Lifestyle Changes for Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

If you change your lifestyle it may help you in managing osteoporosis caused by premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. Lifestyle changes include:

  • Regular physical activity like supervised muscle strengthening exercises should be performed and it is a good lifestyle change.
  • Consume three to four serves of calcium-rich dairy products each day.
  • When you sit in the sun for five to fifteen minutes before 11 am and after 3 pm will provide the necessary daily requirement. However, this can differ based on the location and season.
  • You may be required to take a vitamin D supplement if vitamin D levels are below the normal range.

Coping with Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

Coping with premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency is challenging especially if you have planned for children.

  • Talk therapy is the best way to cope with premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency. Consult a psychological counsellor and arrange for talk therapy sessions for better coping other wise there is a good chance that you will go into clinical depression.
  • Joining a support group is also an excellent coping strategy for premature ovarian failure. By joining a support group, you will have a chance to learn from other sufferers and better cope.
  • Seriously explore other options for having children if your need for have children is very strong. You can adopt a child or even go for vitro fertilization for having children.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 20, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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