Preparing for your appointment

Your first appointment will likely be with your primary care physician or a gynecologist. If you're seeking treatment for infertility, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in reproductive hormones and optimizing fertility (reproductive endocrinologist).

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including missed periods and how long you've been missing them.
  • Key personal information, such as major stresses, recent life changes and your family medical history.
  • our health history, especially your reproductive history, any past surgeries on your ovaries and possible exposure to chemicals or radiation.
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you take, including doses.
  • Questions to ask your doctor.

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember all the information you're given.

For premature ovarian failure, some questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my irregular periods?
  • What other possible causes are there?
  • What tests do I need?
  • 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?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Do you have printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions as they occur to you during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask questions, such as:

  • When did you start missing periods?
  • Do you have hot flashes, vaginal dryness or other menopausal symptoms? For how long?
  • Have you had ovarian surgery?
  • Have you been treated for cancer?
  • Do you or any family members have systemic or autoimmune diseases, such as hypothyroidism or lupus?
  • Have members of your family been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure?
  • How distressed do your symptoms make you feel?
  • Do you feel depressed?
  • Have you had difficulties with previous pregnancies?
Oct. 27, 2016
  1. Nelson LM. Clinical manifestations and evaluation of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). 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). 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. Accessed Aug. 3, 2016.
  6. Welt CK. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). Accessed Aug. 2, 2016.
  7. Coddington CC III (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 15, 2016.