DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Premature ovarian failure refers to a loss of normal function of your ovaries before the age of 40. If your ovaries fail, they don't produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. Infertility is a common result.
Premature ovarian failure is sometimes referred to as premature menopause, but the two conditions are not exactly the same. Women with premature ovarian failure — also known as primary ovarian insufficiency — may have irregular or occasional periods for years and may even become pregnant. Women with premature menopause stop having periods and can't become pregnant.
Restoring estrogen levels in women with premature ovarian failure helps prevent some complications, such as osteoporosis, but infertility is harder to treat.
- Rebar RW. Premature ovarian failure. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2009;113:1355.
- Do I have premature ovarian failure (POF)? National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/pof/index.cfm. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
- Lobo RA. Menopause: Endocrinology, consequences of estrogen deficiency, effects of hormone replacement therapy, treatment regimens. In: Katz VL, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1524/0.html. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
- Welt CK. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous premature ovarian failure. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Bulun SE, et al. The physiology and pathology of the female reproductive axis. In: Kronenberg HM, et al. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191205553-3/0/1555/0.html#. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
- Kalu E, et al. Spontaneous premature ovarian failure: Management challenges. Gynecological Endocrinology. 2008;24:273.
- Nelson LM, et al. Evaluation of spontaneous premature ovarian failure. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Nelson LM, et al. Management of spontaneous premature ovarian failure. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Coddington CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 29, 2010.
- Dietary Reference Intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Institute of Medicine. http://www.iom.edu/vitamind. Accessed Dec. 10, 2010.