What is Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)?
When a woman’s ovaries stop their normal functionalities before the age of 40, initiating a similar situation like menopause; it is referred as Premature Ovarian Failure or POF. Nearly 1 % women are found to have POF;their ovaries stop releasing eggs and hormones like estrogens necessary for ovulation and a proper menstrual flow. Some women may even experience it in their teens when their natural menstruation cycle has a delayed start or does not start at all.
What are the symptoms of POF?
The symptoms of POF are very much similar to menopause like,
- Hot Flashes
- Irritability and mood swing
- Night sweats
- Irregular or intermittent menstrual cycle
What causes POF?
There might be numerous causes of POF like
- Genetic conditions like the Turner Syndrome or Faulty X Syndrome
- Autoimmune disorder (immunity disorder affecting the body’s healthy tissues) affecting the thyroid and adrenal glands
- Family history of POF
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy
What are the risks associated with POF?
Women with POF are at risk of having
- Early heart diseases
How to diagnose POF and what are the treatments?
To diagnose POF a proper hormone test needs to be done. These tests might be repeated more than once if necessary. Blood test for chromosome analysis and Fragile X syndrome mutation (FMR1) may also be done for detecting the genetic causes associated with it.
There is basically no medicine or treatment that can reverse POF. However, the premature ovarian failure that has been induced due to medical factors like radiation or chemotherapy (for cancer patients) may get back to normal with time. For others, hormone therapies may be prescribed to make the situation better to some extent.
Can a woman still have babies after POF?
Yes, they can. With the help of donated eggs and IVF, women can still have babies even after suffering from premature ovarian failure. However, they need to seek the help of a fertility expert to guide them to the best possible way. Trying on unproven ways in desperation can impair their fertility even more.