Diagnosis

Most women have few signs of premature ovarian failure. Diagnosis usually involves a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. Your doctor might ask questions about your menstrual cycle, exposure to toxins, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and previous ovarian surgery.

Your doctor might recommend one or more of these tests:

  • Pregnancy test. This checks for 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 that comes from the ovaries, is usually low in women with premature ovarian failure.
  • Prolactin test. High blood levels of prolactin — the hormone that stimulates breast milk production — can lead to problems with ovulation, including irregular or absent menstrual periods.
  • Karyotype. This test examines your 46 chromosomes for abnormalities. You could have only one X chromosome instead of two or other chromosomal defects.
  • FMR1 gene testing. The FMR1 gene is the gene associated with fragile X syndrome — an inherited disorder that can cause intellectual problems. The FMR1 test looks at both of your X chromosomes to make sure they appear normal.