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Premature Ovarian Failure Facts

Knowledge is power – Premature ovarian failure facts

The average age of menopause in the U.S. is age 51. If a woman enters menopause before age 40, she has premature ovarian failure (POF). This means that her ovaries have stopped functioning earlier than they should. When facing this diagnosis, it’s important to know premature ovarian failure facts.

Just the facts about premature ovarian failure

The signs and symptoms include seldom or absent periods as well as hot flashes. There are certain genetic conditions that can cause premature failure of the ovaries, such as fragile X syndrome. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that women with premature ovarian failure get testing for Fragile X. Females can carry this mutation. As a result, doctor should test for this mutation because it can propagate in severity over generations.

Other things that can cause premature ovarian failure are autoimmune conditions, Turner’s syndrome, prior multiple ovarian surgeries and heavy smoking. Many times, the cause is idiopathic, which essentially means that the cause is unidentifiable with current tests and knowledge.

The important thing to remember is that in young women with POF, it is important to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to  protect against osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. The woman should take these hormones at least until natural age of menopause is reached. At that point, doctors can reassess the indications for HRT in the woman.

Getting the right fertility treatment for POF

For the purposes of fertility, women with POF typically have to use donor eggs.  Although, in some women, occasional spontaneous ovulation and pregnancy can occur. However, this is exceedingly rare. As a result, donor eggs remains the best option. Diagnosis of premature ovarian failure is made by clinical history of absent periods and significantly elevated levels of the hormone FSH in the serum.

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