The Meaning Of Primary Ovarian Insufficiency

In general, a woman’s ovaries cease to function around the age of 50, leading to menopause. However, in conditions like primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a woman’s ovaries stop working before 40 years old, resulting in infertility. When ovaries cease to function, estrogens are no longer produced and eggs are not released. In this condition, a woman might get irregular periods, which results in a possibility of pregnancy.

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Diagnosing POI

The symptoms vary and include missed or irregular periods, difficulty conceiving, irritability, low sex drive, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. The diagnosis is performed by taking a medical history, doing a pelvic exam, and performing some tests. Some tests include a blood test to check hormone levels, a pregnancy test, genetic testing, and bone density testing.

POI triggers

There are many reasons for primary ovarian insufficiency causing a negative effect on estrogen. These causes include autoimmune disorders, genetic disorders, infections, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and idiopathic. The risk factors include age between 35 and 40, family history, and previous ovarian surgery.

When to consider an egg donor

There are different treatment choices for primary ovarian insufficiency and the healthcare provider will suggest the best treatment. Women mostly receive estrogen hormone treatment and some receive progesterone, depending on the case. Some may receive medications to promote egg release or for treating any underlying related condition. A very small number of women can conceive with hormone treatment only. If a woman is still unable to conceive, the doctor may recommend an egg donor option.

Complications associated with POI

Besides infertility, this medical condition can make a woman at risk of other health problems. These include medical problems such as osteoporosis, heart issues, and lipid abnormalities. These health conditions can lead to psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Prevention and prognosis

There is no preventive method for POI. Some women who are treated with hormone therapy show a positive outlook in managing symptoms. Egg donor and in vitro fertilization treatment have been shown to be successful for most women. Sometimes, when no treatment shows a positive result, women may go through a tough emotional phase. There are support groups and counseling therapies for women facing a difficult emotional time.

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