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Premature Ovarian Failure Symptoms

Premature Ovarian Failure Symptoms
Premature Ovarian Failure
Causes and Risk Factors

Symptoms of premature ovarian failure
The signs and symptoms of premature ovarian failure (POF) are similar to those experienced by a woman going through menopause and are typical of estrogen deficiency. In fact, the most common first symptom of premature ovarian failure is skipping or having irregular periods. Sometimes women diagnosed with premature ovarian failure experience erratic periods for years, while others first notice skipped periods after a pregnancy or after discontinuing birth control pills. Furthermore, some women diagnosed with premature ovarian failure also experience other symptoms, which may include:

  • decreased libido
  • drying of the vagina
  • hot flashes
  • infertility
  • irregular or skipped periods (amenorrhea)
  • irritability
  • night sweats
  • pain during sex
  • poor concentration

Several conditions may result from cases of premature ovarian failure. These include:

Infertility - Infertility is a common complication for many women with premature ovarian failure. However, a very small percentage of women diagnosed with the condition become pregnant and deliver healthy babies and natural conception remains possible.

Osteoporosis - The hormone estrogen helps maintain strong bones. Women diagnosed with POF often have low levels of estrogen and are at an increased risk of developing weak and brittle bones (osteoporosis), which are more likely to break than are healthy bones.

Psychological problems - The risk of infertility and other complications arising from low estrogen levels may cause some women to become anxious or depressed.

When to seek help
Most women manifest few signs of premature ovarian failure. One of the most common signs of premature ovarian failure is irregular periods. It’s important that you pay close attention to your menstrual cycle and tell your doctor about any changes. If you skipped your menstrual period for three months or more, see your doctor to determine the cause. A missed period can be caused by a number of reasons (pregnancy, anorexia, stress, diet or exercise changes, uterine cancer) so seek a diagnosis whenever your menstrual cycle changes. Couples are generally advised to seek medical help if they are unable to conceive a child after a year of unprotected intercourse. However, women over 35 should seek medical help after six months of unprotected sex. Finally, women who have any risk factors for premature ovarian failure, especially those diagnosed with chromosomal defects, should get tested to screen for premature ovarian failure.

See a doctor for premature ovarian failure if you:

  • are at risk of developing premature ovarian failure
  • cannot conceive after one year of unprotected sex
  • cannot conceive after 6 months of unprotected sex (women over 35)
  • skip a menstrual period for three months or more

Because the symptoms of premature ovarian failure can be mistaken for other conditions such as menopause, you need to consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. But where does diagnosis begin? And which doctor should you see first? Read here to learn how to diagnose premature ovarian failure in our Diagnosing Premature Ovarian Failure section now.

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Tags: premature ovarian failure, premature, Birth Control Pills, estrogen deficiency, irregular periods, unprotected sex, menstrual cycle, become pregnant, complications, missed period, Birth Control, Osteoporosis, chromosomal, Infertility, amenorrhea, conception, Menopause, diagnosis, menstrual, Pregnancy
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