Often called as premature menopause, premature ovarian failure can affect women of any age at any time of her life. Young women who don’t have children or are still planning to conceive can also experience Premature Ovarian Failure (POF). The condition affects 1 in 100 women before the age of 40 years.
Prevalence of Premature Ovarian Failure in India
Around 4% of Indian women between the age of 29 years and 34 years’ experience the symptoms of menopause, says a recent study by The Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC). The ratio goes up to 8% in the case of women with the age of 35 and 39 years. What is shocking is that generally, women around the world usually reach menopause in the age of 45 years and 55 years. The condition is seen in 10-28% of primary amenorrhea (When the period has not yet started her periods) and 4-18% of secondary amenorrhea (When the periods stop suddenly). Early menopause also put women at risk of various other diseases such as osteoporosis, heart attack, diabetes, breast cancer, and hypertension.
People suffering from premature ovarian syndrome are generally shattered emotionally and require counselling. However, apart from social support, they should have a clear picture about their condition and should ask all the important questions from their doctor. Here’s a list of pointers one should prepare and ask your doctor, next time you have an appointment!
What is Premature Ovarian Failure?
Women with POF do not ovulate eggs mainly due to lower amount of follicles or dysfunctional ovaries. If the ovaries doesn’t produce enough estrogen hormones or produce eggs, the women may have to face infertility. Women with premature ovarian failure have irregular or occasional periods for years. With the growing age, the women have high susceptibility to develop premature ovarian failure. Apart from this pituitary gland disorder may also result in this condition. Women with Premature Ovarian Failure is vulnerable to several other diseases such as –
• Osteoporosis • Heart related diseases • Vaginal dryness • Bone loss • Hot flushes
What are the symptoms of POF?
• Skipped irregular menstrual periods • Hot Flushes • Thinning & drying of vagina • Painful intercourse • Night sweats
What is the cause of my irregular period?
Since the women are not ovulating in premature ovarian failure, she may experience irregular periods. The problem is not restructured to elderly women but is prevented in younger women as well as women below the age of 30 years.
What all test do I need?
In order to monitor the possibility of various health issues, Blood test, Pregnancy test, FSH Test (Follicle-Stimulating Hormone)—to assess the FSH hormone that stimulate the growth of follicles in the ovaries, Estradiol Test (Type of estrogen), Prolactin Test—To detect the Prolactin hormone that stimulate breast milk, and Karyotype Test—To examine the chromosome for abnormalities and FMR1 Gene testing are conducted.
What all treatments are available?
There are a number of treatments avail be to treat premature ovarian failure. Since the problem arises because of the estrogen deficiency the main treatment for the condition is Estrogen Therapy wherein estrogen and progesterone hormones are prescribed by the doctors that also plays an important role in protecting the lining of the uterus. This hormone therapy is one of the most effective treatments and must be taken under the guidance of an experienced medical professional.
Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements:
Bone density testing may revel the probability fop osteoporosis in women struggling with pre mature ovarian failure and hence, Vitamin D supplements are important apart from dietary changes.
These may include assisted reproductive technologies like IVF, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and Cryopreservation. Dr. Priti Gupta, Consultant Fertility & IVF, First Step IVF Clinic, New Delhi says, “IVF technique is one of the most successful techniques to cure infertility. The treatment of premature ovarian failure requires patience and a positive approach towards these assisted reproductive technologies. Keep a track of your menstrual cycle, take care of your diet and be sincere in your treatment.”
Premature Ovarian Failure—Diet & Treatment
The Treatment includes-
1. Hormone Management or Hormone Replacement Therapy 2. Diet: Keep a balanced diet and maintain a healthy body weight. Ample amount of calcium and vitamin D rich diet 3. Engage in physical activity and regular exercise. 4. Quit smoking and try to stay away from alcohol consumption 5. Maca is a nourishing food that protects the body from negative effects of stress 6. Shatavari is another Indian herb that acts as estrogen modulator and helps balance the menstrual cycle in women. 7. Apart from all the above mention remedies chaste tree berry helps to maintain reproductive system in women. 8. A power-packed fertility diet including cold water fish, high fiber foods, antioxidants, lipoic acid, Vitamin D etc. are great for boosting the fertility in women.
Difference between POF & Menopause
In Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) woman's ovaries stop working before the age of 40 years whereas, in menopause, the periods stop before the age of 40 years. Which means you no longer can get pregnant, the cause of menopause can be natural or can be any serious disease like surgery radiation or chemotherapy. On the other hand, with POF few women still have periods occasionally. Moreover, women with POF may even get pregnant, and also in most of the cases, the cause of the POF is unknown.