Premature Ovarian Failure | PRC
 

Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature Ovarian Failure is sometimes confused with premature menopause, but there is a basic technical difference. With premature ovarian failure, periods could be irregular, occurring just occasionally for several years. With premature menopause, ovulation stops altogether. The critical implication here is that with primary ovarian insufficiency, there is still a chance for a woman to become naturally pregnant, although the odds are certainly diminished.

 

It is likely, however, that some form of assisted reproductive technology could be used to help a woman become pregnant even when her ovaries are not functioning properly. One commonly used procedure is in vitro fertilization. Discuss this option with your physician or call the Pacific Reproductive Center in Los Angeles (at 310-376-7000) to plan a strategy to review all your options.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms of premature ovarian failure include:

  • Irregular periods, including skipped periods
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lower sex drive

Treatment includes estrogen replacement therapy and dietary supplements, including vitamin D and calcium

Possible Complications Include

– Depression

– Increased risk of heart disease

– Increased risk of dementia

– Osteoporosis due to bone loss

 

See A Doctor

 

If you miss your period for three months, it is advised to see a physician find out why. Among other complications, this could be a sign of low estrogen levels, which can lead to bone loss.

 

Causes of Premature Ovarian Failure

While identifying what has caused a woman to experience premature ovarian failure is not always possible, there are some possible contributing issues you should discuss with your doctor. These are:

n  Turner’s syndrome, which is marked by having one normal X chromosome and one altered X chromosome

– Fragile X Syndrome, marked by having X chromosomes that break

– Chemotherapy and radiation therapy

– Other toxins, including smoking, industrial chemicals

– Various viruses

– Auto-immune disorders in which the immune system attacks ovarian tissues

Risk Factors Include:

– Age, associated with ages 35-40

– Family history of premature ovarian failure

– Previous ovarian surgeries

Diagnosis

Several tests and a physical, including a pelvic exam, could be required to diagnose premature ovarian failure. The various tests include:

– Pregnancy test – missing a period could mean you are pregnant

– Follicle-stimulating hormone test – FSH, released by the pituitary gland, prompts follicle growth during a woman’s cycle. High levels are considered a sign of premature ovarian failure

– Prolactin test – high levels of this hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk could be the cause of irregular periods

– Estradiol test – this hormone is lower than normal in women with premature ovarian failure

– Karyotype is an examination of chromosomes. A chromosome defect should be ruled out as a contributing factor

– FMR1 gene testing – this gene is associated with fragile X syndrome. This test allows doctors to look at the X chromosomes to make sure they both look normal

Treatment And Options

 Treatment of premature ovarian failure often addresses the problems associated with the low levels of estrogen. As such, treatment includes estrogen replacement therapy and dietary supplements, including vitamin D and calcium.

To address infertility issues, consult with your physician or call the Pacific Reproductive Center in Los Angeles at 310-376-7000 to review your options.

 

Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause), when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40. Although the cause is often unknown, certain factors are associated with early menopause, including immune system diseases, certain genetic conditions such as Turner syndrome or carriers of Fragile X syndrome, radiation or chemotherapy treatment, and smoking.

 

  • genetic problems, such as Turner syndrome
  • autoimmune diseases where the body does not recognize certain tissues and attacks itself; for example, lupus
  • the side-effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other cancer treatments
  • a number of general conditions, such as enzyme deficiencies or infections like mumps.

 

  • genetic problems, such as Turner syndrome
  • autoimmune diseases where the body does not recognize certain tissues and attacks itself; for example, lupus
  • the side-effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and other cancer treatments
  • a number of general conditions, such as enzyme deficiencies or infections like mumps.

 

  • Chromosomal defects. Certain genetic disorders are associated with premature ovarian failure. These include mosaic Turner’s syndrome — in which a woman has only one normal X chromosome and an altered second X chromosome — and fragile X syndrome — in which the X chromosomes are fragile and break.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common causes of toxin-induced ovarian failure. These therapies can damage the genetic material in cells. Other toxins such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides, and viruses might hasten ovarian failure.
  • An immune system response to ovarian tissue (autoimmune disease).In this rare form, your immune system produces antibodies against your ovarian tissue, harming the egg-containing follicles and damaging the egg. What triggers the immune response is unclear, but exposure to a virus is one possibility.

Unknown factors. It’s possible to develop premature ovarian failure, but have no known chromosomal defects, toxin exposure or autoimmune

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