What is Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)?
Dr Chaithra S K
Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
POF affects 1% of female population. Average age of natural menopause in women is 51 years. This means that ovaries produce eggs/hormones till this age although less. POF is pre-mature depletion of eggs from the ovary before the age of 40 years.
Women may present with inability to conceive, irregular or no menses, post menopausal symptoms like loss of interest in sex, hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood swings. Hormonally, POF is defined by abnormally low levels of estrogen, anti mullerian hormone (AMH) and high levels of FSH (>40m.IU/ml) and LH. Sonologically, ovaries will appear small, shrivelled with no follicles.
The age of onset of POF can be as early as teenage years. Cause of POF is often unknown. It might run in families with similar history in mother or siblings. It may be due to genetic disorders, auto-immune disorders (Production of antibodies against self) radiation exposure, chemotherapy, surgical causes, infection.
The main cause of concern of POF is infertility and health hazards associated with premature menopause. These women are susceptible to heart problems, thinning of bones leading to fractures (Osteoporosis) and psycho-social problems. All this can be overcome by hormonal replacement therapy by supplementing with estrogen (with caution) keeping long term side effects of HRT in mind.
Fertility still remains an issue with POF patients. Between 5-10% of women with POF may spontaneously conceive. Currently no fertility treatment has found to be effective in increasing the chances of conception in POF women. The use of donor eggs with IVF and adoption are the most popular means of becoming parents for women with POF.
Currently fertility researches are investigating use of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in women with POF to increase the chance of natural conception or to improve the number of eggs obtained for IVF in women with poor ovarian reserve (POR). DHEA also decreases spontaneous miscarriage rates by improving the quality of eggs. Many successful pregnancies have been reported with use of DHEA in women with POF or POR. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation or oocyte freezing can be performed on pre-pubertal or young girls who are at risk of POF, to preserve their fertility.
So, if you are a patient suffering from any of the above mentioned symptoms or have family history of pre-mature ovarian failure or want to postpone motherhood for career reasons, kindly visit your fertility specialist at the earliest, to know if your are at risk of developing pre-mature ovarian failure. Your doctor can perform hormone tests, USG to determine your fertility quotient.
All the above mentioned tests and treatment facilities are available at Garbhagudi IVF centre. The centre has doctors with vast and rich experience in handling patients with pre-mature ovarian failure. Many women with POF have realized their dream of becoming mothers with assisted reproductive technologies available at Garbhagudi IVF centre. The centre offers wide range of treatments available for POF like egg banking, ovarian cryopreservation, donor egg programme, IVF, donor embryo programme, improving oocyte reservoir etc.
So, book your appointment today at Garbhagudi IVF centre to know your fertility quotient or for the treatment of POF and realize your dream of becoming parents.