Your first appointment will likely be with your primary care physician or a gynecologist. If you're seeking treatment for infertility, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in reproductive hormones and optimizing fertility (reproductive endocrinologist).
What you can do
To get ready for your appointment, you can:
- Make a list of any symptoms you've had and for how long
- Track your menstrual cycles, or lack of menstrual cycles, noting particulars such as the dates when they start and stop or how long ago your last cycle was
- List your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and any medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember all the information you'll receive
- List questions to ask your doctor, putting them in order of importance, in case time runs out
For premature ovarian failure, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my irregular periods?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- What tests do I need to find out why I'm having this problem?
- What treatments are available? What side effects can I expect?
- How will these treatments affect my sexuality?
- What do you feel is the best course of action for me?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? Will my insurance cover it?
- Do you have any printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
Questions your doctor may ask
To gain a better understanding of what you're going through, your doctor may ask you several questions, such as:
- Do you have occasional menstrual periods or no periods at all?
- Are you experiencing hot flashes, vaginal dryness or other menopausal symptoms?
- How long have you had your symptoms?
- Have you ever had ovarian surgery?
- Have you been treated for cancer?
- Do you or any family members have any systemic or autoimmune diseases, such as hypothyroidism or lupus?
- Have any members of your family been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure?
- How distressed do your symptoms make you feel?
- Do you feel depressed?
- Did you have any difficulties with previous pregnancies?
- Have you experienced unexplained weight gain or weight loss?
- What medications or vitamin supplements do you take?
Don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment as they occur to you. It's important that you understand the reason for any tests or treatments that are recommended.
Feb. 12, 2014
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- Nelson LM, et al. Clinical manifestations and evaluation of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 27, 2013.
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 27, 2013.
- Welt CK. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 27, 2013.
- Rafique S, et al. A new approach to primary ovarian insufficiency. Obstetrics & Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2012;39:567.
- Nelson LM, et al. Management of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 27, 2013.
- Ross AC, et al. Dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Institute of Medicine. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13050&page=1. Accessed Aug. 26, 2013.
- Coddington CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 16, 2013.
- Questions and answers about estrogen-plus-progestin hormone therapy. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/women/q_a.htm. Accessed Sept. 5, 2013.
- Schierbeck LL, et al. Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular events in recently postmenopausal women: Randomised trial. BMJ. 2012;345:e6409.