What is premature ovarian failure (POF)?
Premature Ovarian Failure is a loss of ovarian function in women under 40, when monthly periods stop and estrogen is low, which causes menopausal symptoms. The causes of POF can vary, but may include autoimmune conditions or genetics. When we use the term “POF” the failure can be permanent, temporary or periodic, and there may be residual ovarian function. Some women with POF may intermittently produce estrogen and even ovulate spontaneously or with the help of potent fertility drugs. The best thing is to discuss various options with your reproductive endocrinologist, including donor egg. Some of the physical and emotional changes due to low estrogen may include irregular periods or no periods, hot flashes, irritability, sleep disruption, decreased sex drive, depression and drying of the vagina. Due to the lack of estrogen at a relatively early age, women with POF are at increased risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. There has been recent controversy about the relationship of hormo