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Premature Ovarian Failure Causes and Risk Factors

Premature Ovarian Failure Causes and Risk Factors
Premature Ovarian Failure
Causes and Risk Factors

What causes premature ovarian failure?
Premature ovarian failure arises when there are few or no "responsive" follicles left in the ovaries (follicle depletion) which can become eggs or when the follicles aren't responding properly to hormonal signals(follicle dysfunction).

Often, it's difficult to identify an exact cause of premature ovarian failure (POF). In most cases, the cause of POF remains unknown. Doctors have yet to discover why normal functioning of the ovaries stops before certain women naturally reach menopause, even though they seem otherwise healthy. Hormones, genes, the immune system, and other factors may all play a role in POF. Some causes of primary ovarian failure include:

Chromosomal defects - Certain genetic disorders are associated with premature ovarian failure such as Turner's syndrome. Also, women who are carriers for the gene for Fragile X syndrome, or who have the pre-mutation for the condition, are more likely than other people to get premature ovarian failure. 

Developmental defects - Ovarian agenesis (failure to develop ovaries) and ovarian steroidogenesis defect can cause POF.

Medical conditions – Damage due to autoimmune diseases may cause POF when the body produces antibodies that target ovarian tissue and may harm the egg-containing follicles. The process may be initiated by exposure to a virus. Other medical causes of POF include:

  • adrenal disease 
  • autoimmune disease
  • ovarian tumor
  • pituitary gland disorders
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • thyroid disease 

Medical treatments - Chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments can cause toxin-induced ovarian failure, which may damage the genetic material in cells of the ovaries.

Toxins - Toxins such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, pesticides and viruses may quicken ovarian failure.

Risk factors
Premature ovarian failure can be influenced by several factors. Factors that increase your risk of developing premature ovarian failure include:

Age - The risk of developing ovarian failure increases as you age.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy - The risk of developing POF after radio- and chemotherapy may be lower for women who receive this treatment under the age of 30. However, chemo and radiotherapy treatments increase risk of premature ovarian failure for all women.

Family history – About 10% of all cases of POF run in the family. If you have a mother, sister or aunt who is diagnosed with POF, you are at greater risk of developing this disorder.

Medical history – Women diagnosed with Addison’s disease, which is associated with adrenal gland problems, are more at risk of developing POF.  Also, women who have low thyroid function, heart disease or osteoporosis are more likely of developing premature ovarian failure.

When ovarian follicles don't mature properly and don't release enough estrogen , FSH increases and remains elevated. This is why women with premature ovarian failure often have high levels of FSH circulating in their blood. But what are some other symptoms of premature ovarian failure? Continue reading here to learn to identify signs and symptoms of premature ovarian failure.

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Tags: premature ovarian failure, premature, adrenal gland problems, medical treatments, radiation therapy, Heart Disease, adrenal gland, Osteoporosis, Chemotherapy, chromosomal, polycystic, treatments, treatment, radiation, Menopause, symptoms, Diseases, estrogen, agenesis, adrenal
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