Treatment for premature ovarian failure usually focuses on the problems that arise from estrogen deficiency. Your doctor might recommend:
Estrogen therapy. Estrogen therapy can help prevent osteoporosis and relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of estrogen deficiency. Your doctor typically prescribes estrogen with the hormone progesterone, especially if you still have your uterus. Adding progesterone protects the lining of your uterus (endometrium) from precancerous changes caused by taking estrogen alone.
The combination of hormones can cause vaginal bleeding again, but it won't restore ovarian function. Depending on your health and preference, you might take hormone therapy until around age 50 or 51 — the average age of natural menopause.
In older women, long-term estrogen plus progestin therapy has been linked to an increased risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease and breast cancer. In young women with premature ovarian failure, however, the benefits of hormone therapy outweigh the potential risks.
Calcium and vitamin D supplements. Both are important for preventing osteoporosis, and you might not get enough in your diet or from exposure to sunlight. Your doctor might suggest bone density testing before starting supplements to get a baseline bone density measurement.
For women ages 19 through 50, the Institute of Medicine recommends 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day through food or supplements, increasing to 1,200 mg a day for women age 51 and older.
Scientists don't yet know the optimal daily dose of vitamin D. A good starting point for adults is 600 to 800 international units (IU) a day, through food or supplements. If your blood levels of vitamin D are low, your doctor might suggest higher doses.
There's no treatment proved to restore this common complication of premature ovarian failure. It's important to understand and grieve for this loss of ovarian function and to seek counseling if you need it
Some women and their partners pursue a pregnancy through in vitro fertilization using donor eggs. The procedure involves removing eggs from a donor and fertilizing them with your partner's sperm in a lab. The fertilized egg (embryo) is then placed in your uterus.
Oct. 27, 2016
- Nelson LM. Clinical manifestations and evaluation of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — Committee on Adolescent Health Care. Committtee Opinion No. 605. Primary ovarian insufficiency in young women and adolescents. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2014:123:193.
- Nelson LM, et al. Management of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
- De Vos M, et al. Primary ovarian insufficiency. The Lancet. 2010;376:911.
- Dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Institute of Medicine. http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2010/dietary-reference-intakes-for-calcium-and-vitamin-d.aspx. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016.
- Welt CK. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
- Coddington CC III (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 15, 2016.
Premature ovarian failure