Keep track of your menstrual cycles and know that spontaneous conception may occur. If you are trying for children when you get diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, joining some support networks and finding out information about alternative ways to conceive can help.
The human body is a complex
The reproductive system of both males and females is something that
has intrigued and fascinated people for many, many years.
workings of it all still hardly make sense to us today.
To break it down, females have a
range of reproductive organs that work together to make a baby.
There is the
uterus which is an organ about the size of a peach and is where a fertile egg
Then there are two fallopian tubes, one either side of the uterus.
ovary glands are found at the end of the fallopian tubes.
During each monthly
cycle, these are what dispel a single egg. That egg journeys along the
fallopian tubes and into the uterus.
If fertilised, it embeds in the uterus
wall lining (called the endometrium) and stays there to grow into a baby.
In most cases, the female body
goes through this cycle each month (without the fertilisation part!) from the
onset of puberty until the beginning of menopause.
Puberty starts when the
first egg is released and the first period happens.
As time goes on and the
body ages, the ovary glands produce fewer eggs until menopause happen and it
all dries up, so to speak.
However, there are cases where
the ovaries fail earlier than usual.
This is called premature ovarian failure.
It is also known as an ovarian insufficiency!
It is basically when the body has
less functioning ovaries before the age 40.
Here are common questions about
premature ovarian failure to get a better grasp of what is going on here.
Why does premature ovarian failure?
Such questions can be asked about
many things that the female body does!
Premature ovarian failure is a
complicated situation and can be distressing, especially if someone is trying
to fall pregnant.
The reason behind it is a
decrease in amounts of the hormone estrogen.
The ovaries glands produce this
hormone in excess during each ovulation cycle.
With premature ovarian failure,
there are fewer amounts of it and the balance is thrown off. It is possible to
restore estrogen levels and bring them back to ‘normal’ amounts.
Is premature ovarian failure the same as menopause?
These two are often mixed up, but
they are very different.
Premature ovarian failure is not premature menopause.
A woman experiencing premature ovarian failure can still get regular periods,
she won’t be as fertile, although there is still a small chance of pregnancy.
Menopause is when the ovaries
don’t produce an egg and a woman can no longer become pregnant.
What are the symptoms of premature ovarian failure?
The female body is a confusing
one so it's hard to what a symptom is trying to tell you.
ovarian failure, some following things may happen:
Missed or irregular
Hot flashes or sweating
through the night
Decreased sex drive
Are there any side effects of premature ovarian failure?
The most obvious side effect is
the inability to conceive.
Premature ovarian failure makes it harder, but not
impossible to fall pregnant.
There are ways to boost estrogen levels and try to
restore regularity to ovarian production, but it will never be full again.
There is also an increased risk
of osteoporosis because of the lack of estrogen.
Doctors can recommend suitable
supplements to take for this.
There are also lifestyle and diet changes to ease
the effects of osteoporosis.
Are there ways to treat premature ovarian failure?
Estrogen therapy is taking a dose
of tablets, a mixture of estrogen and progesterone.
Adding progesterone helps
to protect the uterus lining and keep it strong.
therapy doesn’t produce quick and efficient results and ovarian production will
never be back to its full amounts.
Another solution is to take
additional vitamin D and calcium supplements.
This is mostly to prevent early
onset of osteoporosis.
You might need to get a bone density test before going
ahead with these supplements.
As for fertility, this cannot be
It is possible to use IVF with your egg (depending what stage of
premature ovarian failure you are at) or a donor egg.
There are also many
counselling and grief networks available to help through this unfortunate
How does the doctor diagnose premature ovarian failure?
After a few months of irregular
periods or trouble conceiving, it is best to consult a doctor.
It can take a
while to reach the diagnosis of premature ovarian failure so patience is
important throughout this process, especially considering how broad the
Doctors will need to do a physical
exam and pelvic exam.
Some tests doctors will use to find out if it is
premature ovarian failure include:
hormone test (the hormone that regulates ovarian production)
Estradiol test to find
out the estrogen levels
Prolactin test (the
hormone that stimulates breast milk production)
Karyotype to test all
46 chromosomes for abnormalities
FMR1 gene testing to
test for genetic related conditions
Is there anything I can do about it at home?
Premature ovarian failure has a
physical and emotional impact on all facets of life.
To help deal with the
diagnosis, there are things you can do at home to make positive differences.
For example, ensuring you have a
calcium rich diet to prevent osteoporosis is a good step. Also, doing weight
bearing exercises and staying fit and active will help.
Keep track of your menstrual
cycles and know that spontaneous conception may occur.
If you are trying for
children when you get diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, joining some
support networks and finding out information about alternative ways to conceive
Remember that this can be an
emotionally fragile diagnosis.
It is important to talk about the feelings that
come with and reach out to close friends, family members, or a partner.
communication open during doctor appointments will help to ease the burden.
Always give yourself time to come to terms with a diagnosis and deal with the
next steps slowly.
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