Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To make a diagnosis of premature ovarian failure, your doctor may ask about your signs and symptoms, your menstrual cycle, and a history of exposure to any toxins, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, which cause direct injury to follicles and eggs. Most women have few signs of premature ovarian failure, but you'll likely have a physical exam, including a pelvic exam.

Your doctor may also recommend one or more of these tests:

  • Pregnancy test. This test checks for the possibility of an unexpected pregnancy in a woman of childbearing age who has missed a period.
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test. FSH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates the growth of follicles in your ovaries. Women with premature ovarian failure often have abnormally high levels of FSH in the blood.
  • Estradiol test. The blood level of estradiol, a type of estrogen, is usually low in women with premature ovarian failure.
  • Prolactin test. High levels of prolactin — the hormone that stimulates breast milk production — in your blood can lead to problems with ovulation.
  • Karyotype. This is a test that examines all 46 of your chromosomes for abnormalities. Some women with premature ovarian failure may have only one X chromosome instead of two or may have other chromosomal defects.
  • FMR1 gene testing. The FMR1 gene is the gene associated with fragile X syndrome — an inherited disorder that causes intellectual problems. The FMR1 test looks at both of your X chromosomes to make sure they appear to be normal.
Feb. 12, 2014