Menstrual Glossary A to Z

Premature Ovarian Failure

May also be called premature menopause, 'primary' ovarian failure or POF. Condition in which a woman's ovarian function - notably the presence of follicles containing eggs - slows markedly or ceases at any time prior to age 40. The most common symptom is irregular or absent menstrual periods. Some women also experience the full range of well-known menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, irritability, insomnia, decreased libido, and dry vaginal tissues.

Sometimes hereditary, POF can be the result of a number of conditions, such as Fragile X syndrome or carriers (a genetic condition.) Often, the exact cause is undetermined.

POF symptoms can be treated, but there is no guaranteed way to medically reverse the trend of slowed ovarian function. Some women have conceived with their own eggs when stimulated with fertility medications, while more commonly, women with POF can use a donor's eggs to become pregnant and give birth.

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