Primary ovarian failure (POF) is the stoppage of ovaries before menopause has started. Ovaries make certain hormones called estrogen and progesterone that affect many parts of the body. Loss or changes in these hormones can affect the health of the bones, heart, and blood vessels.
POF is caused by damage or destruction of the ovaries. Common reasons include:
In some women, the cause may not be known.
Factors that increase your chances of POF include:
Symptoms are similar to those of menopause and may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam and a pelvic exam may also be done.
The blood may be tested to look for changes in hormone levels.
The goal of treatment is to manage any problems caused by the change in hormones. You and your doctor can talk about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
Women who are planning a procedure or treatment with a risk of POF may consider fertility preservation and family planning options before undergoing treatment. One option is to preserve healthy eggs to be used during in vitro at a later date.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada
Premature ovarian failure: premature menopause. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/womens-health/premature-ovarian-failure/. Published August 2015. Accessed August 1, 2016.
Premature ovarian failure—what do I need to know? Resolve website. Available at: http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/medical-conditions/premature-ovarian-failure-what-do-i-need-to-know.html. Published Summer 2012. Accessed August 1, 2016.
Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 18, 2016. Accessed December 21, 2016.
Premature ovarian insufficiency. Patient UK website. Available at: http://patient.info/health/premature-ovarian-insufficiency-leaflet. Updated January 19, 2016. Accessed August 1, 2016.
Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI): overview. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/poi/Pages/default.aspx. Updated April 12, 2013. Accessed August 1, 2016.
Primary ovarian insufficiency in adolescents and young women. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Adolescent-Health-Care/Primary-Ovarian-Insufficiency-in-Adolescents-and-Young-Women. Published July 2014. Accessed August 1, 2016.
Last reviewed August 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.