Overview

Premature ovarian failure — also known as primary ovarian insufficiency — is a loss of normal function of your ovaries before age 40. If your ovaries fail, they don't produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. Infertility is a common result.

Premature ovarian failure is sometimes referred to as premature menopause, but the two conditions aren't the same. Women with premature ovarian failure can have irregular or occasional periods for years and might even become pregnant. Women with premature menopause stop having periods and can't become pregnant.

Restoring estrogen levels in women with premature ovarian failure helps prevent some complications, such as osteoporosis, that occur as a result of low estrogen.

Oct. 27, 2016
References
  1. Nelson LM. Clinical manifestations and evaluation of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
  2. 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.
  3. Nelson LM, et al. Management of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
  4. De Vos M, et al. Primary ovarian insufficiency. The Lancet. 2010;376:911.
  5. 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.
  6. Welt CK. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
  7. Coddington CC III (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 15, 2016.