Premature Ovarian Failure is sometimes confused with premature menopause, but there is a basic technical difference. With premature ovarian failure, periods could be irregular, occurring just occasionally for several years. With premature menopause, ovulation stops altogether. The critical implication here is that with primary ovarian insufficiency, there is still a chance for a woman to become naturally pregnant, although the odds are certainly diminished.

It is likely, however, that some form of assisted reproductive technology could be used to help a woman become pregnant even when her ovaries are not functioning properly. One commonly used procedure is in vitro fertilization. 

Symptoms of premature ovarian failure include:

  • Irregular periods, including skipped periods
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Night sweats
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lower sex drive 

When to See a Doctor 

If you miss your period for three months, it is advised to see a physician to find out why. Among other complications, this could be a sign of low estrogen levels, which can lead to bone loss.


Causes of Premature Ovarian Failure

While identifying what has caused a woman to experience premature ovarian failure is not always possible, there are some possible contributing issues you should discuss with your doctor. 

These are:

– Turner’s syndrome, which is marked by having one normal X chromosome and one altered X chromosome

– Fragile X Syndrome, marked by having X chromosomes that break

– Chemotherapy and radiation therapy

– Other toxins, including smoking, industrial chemicals

– Various viruses

– Auto-immune disorders in which the immune system attacks ovarian tissues

Risk Factors Include:

– Age, associated with ages 35-40

– Family history of premature ovarian failure

– Previous ovarian surgeries


Several tests and a physical, including a pelvic exam, could be required to diagnose premature ovarian failure. It is recommended that you discuss your options with a physician.  Contact PRC today if you are in need of fertility treatment, we are here to help.   

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