Premature ovarian failure (patient information)
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Premature ovarian failure
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Risk calculators and risk factors for Premature ovarian failure
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Jinhui Wu, M.D.
Premature ovarian failure is a disorder of loss of normal functions of your ovaries before the age of 40. The cause is not clear. Studies demonstrate the cause is associated with chromosomal defects, autoimmune diseases, some toxins and family history. Usual signs and symptoms include irregular peroid or amenorrhea, hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, decreased sexual desire and infertility. Hormone tests, such as tests blood levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and estradiol, may help the diagnosis. Treatments focus on symptoms and complications. Treatments of premature ovarian failure include estrogen replacement therapy , calcium and vitamin D and treatments on infertility.
What are the symptoms of Premature ovarian failure?
Usual signs and symptoms of premature ovarin failure include the following:
- Irregular or skipped periods (amenorrhea)
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Irritability, poor concentration
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sexual desire
- Low thyroid function, such as muscle hypotonia, fatigue and cold intolerance.
- Addison’s disease, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Heart diseases, such as palpitation and chest pain.
Other health problems may also cause these symptoms. Only a doctor can tell for sure. A person with any of these symptoms should tell the doctor so that the problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
What causes Premature ovarian failure?
In many cases, the cause of premature ovarian failure is not clear. Some studies demonstrate that the following factors may be involved in the cause of this disorder.
- Chromosomal defects: Studies demonstrate that certain genetic disorders may be associated with premature ovarian failure, such as Turner's syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
- Toxins: Toxins, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides and viruses may damage the genetic material in cells and hasten ovarian failure.
- Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases may cause follicle dysfunction, which may produce antibodies against her own ovarian tissue and harm the egg-containing follicles, then result in premature ovarian failure.
- Age: The risk of ovarian failure rises as you age.
- Genentic factors: Having a family history of premature ovarian failure increases your risk of developing this disorder.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of premature ovarian failure.
- Hormone tests: Women with premature ovarian failure often have abnormally high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)in the blood and their luteinizing hormone (LH) is usually lower than the level of FSH.
- Serum estradiol test: The blood level of estradiol, a type of estrogen, is usually low in women with premature ovarian failure.
- Chromosome test: This test can check all 46 of the chromosomes for abnormalities.
Treatments of premature ovarian failure include estrogen therapy to release symptoms and tresatments on the complications.
- Estrogen therapy: The goal of estrogen therapy is to help prevent osteoporosis and relieve symptoms of estrogen deficiency, such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes. The doctors usually prescribe both estrogen and progesterone to protect the lining of your uterus from precancerous changes that may result if you take estrogen alone. According to the association on hormone replacement therapy and cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer incidence, doctors prefer that the benefits of hormone replacement therapy usually outweigh the potential risks in young women with premature ovarian failure .
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements: These treatments are important for bone health and help decrease the risk of development of osteoporosis.
- Treatments on infertility: Infertility is a common complication of premature ovarian failure. For women with this disorder, the way of pregnancy is fertilized in vitro by using a donor's eggs.
Medications to avoid
Patients diagnosed with primary ovarian failure should avoid using the following medications:
If you have been diagnosed with primary ovarian failure, consult your physician before starting or stopping any of these medications.
Diseases with similar symptoms
Where to find medical care for Premature ovarian failure?
Directions to Hospitals Treating premature ovarian failure
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Prognosis of most patients with premature ovarian failure may be good with the hormone replacement therapy.
- Avoiding exposure of toxins, such as cigarette, chemicals, pesticides and viruses.
- Genetic screening test for those with family history of premature ovarian failure.