At NCCRM, we help families with fertility treatments, tubal reversals, and gynecological services such as ovarian rejuvenation. We also help women with reproductive diseases and challenges with getting pregnant. One thing that we tend to see is Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), or Premature Ovarian Failure. Ovaries eventually stop producing ovum, but this usually doesn’t happen until around menopause. However, it can happen earlier in some people. When this happens, people tend to have a lot of questions.
What is Premature Ovarian Failure?
Premature Ovarian Failure is when your ovaries stop working before menopause. Usually around the age of 40, ovaries naturally stop producing ovum, but it can happen earlier than that in some people. It can start as early as teenage years, and causes infertility. Some people still get occasional periods and can get pregnant, but the chances are much lower with POI.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms for Premature Ovarian Failure are similar to those of menopause, and they typically include:
- Irregular or skipped periods, sometimes disappearing altogether
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Dry eyes
- Decreased sex drive
What causes POI?
It could be caused by a few different things, but most people don’t know for sure what causes it. Some genetic disorders can cause POI, such as mosaic Turner Syndrome. Mosaic Turner Syndrome is when a woman only has one normal X chromosome. The second may be fragile or broken.
Some autoimmune diseases can cause POI as well. Your immune system can produce antibodies that work against your ovarian tissues. This harms the follicles and ovaries, causing fewer ovum to be released.
Factors such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides, and other viruses may cause ovaries to speed up ovarian failure. However, the cause is often unknown. NCCRM is just one place that can help you figure out what is causing Premature Ovarian Failure, or anything else that is causing fertility problems in your life.
How can I prevent it?
Prevention is not likely. Most of the time, it doesn’t arise because someone did or didn’t do something. It is still important to avoid smoking and tobacco, drinking too much or too often, and to take care of your body. Places like NCCRM can provide you with services and other tips that can help to keep your reproductive system in good health.
If I have it, what can I do?
Treatment for POI itself is almost nonexistent. Most of the treatments used are to help with estrogen deficiency. Estrogen therapy can help relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of POI. Your period might return with the use of hormone therapy, but your ovary function will remain the same.
There is no treatment to restore fertility. Some women and families choose to try places like NCCRM. NCCRM offers in vitro fertilization, using donor eggs, fertility surgeries, and hormone therapy to help offset symptoms and help with pregnancy.