Primary ovarian insufficiency

What is primary ovarian insufficiency, and how does it affect you?

The loss of normal ovarian function and decreased fertility before 40 is known as primary ovarian insufficiency. These symptoms may start as early as puberty in some women. Since ovarian function is unpredictable, the word “insufficiency” is preferred over “failure.” Just about 5% to 10% of women with primary ovarian insufficiency can conceive.

Hot flashes, night sweats, reduced sexual appetite, vaginal dryness, difficulty getting pregnant, and difficulty focusing are only a few symptoms.

Treatment aims to ovarian insufficiency symptoms using hormone therapy and other supplements. Any woman who wants to start a family may need additional help.

If you are having signs of ovarian insufficiency after pregnancy or are worried about your menstrual cycle in some way, you should seek medical advice.

Main ovarian insufficiency signs

*Key signs and symptoms

Primary ovarian insufficiency symptoms are somewhat similar to menopause symptoms (even though they are not the same condition). Since both primary ovarian insufficiency and menopause are caused by a lack/deficiency of estrogen released by the ovaries, the symptoms are identical. The following are some of the ovarian insufficiency symptoms:

  • Irregular or absent cycles: In the absence of birth control, irregular periods or a total lack of periods (amenorrhea) that persists for years are the most common signs of primary ovarian insufficiency that prompt women to seek medical help.
  • Flashes of heat
  • Sweats every night
  • Lowered sexual appetite 
  • Vaginal dryness 
  • Difficulty conceiving 
  • Concentration problems

*Difficulties

The following are potential complications of primary ovarian insufficiency.

  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by thin, brittle bones caused by a lack of estrogen. Since estrogen is needed for solid, healthy bones, women with primary ovarian insufficiency are at risk of breaking their bones easily.
  • Infertility: Ovarian insufficiency and infertility, for many people, trouble getting pregnant is the most distressing complication of primary ovarian insufficiency.
  • Heart disease: Low estrogen levels can affect the muscles that line the heart’s arteries, causing cholesterol to build up within the vessels. These factors boost the risk of atherosclerosis (artery hardening) and heart disease as a result.
  • Anxiety and depression: The complications of this disorder, coupled with already low estrogen levels, can lead to depression and anxiety in some women.
  • Hypoparathyroidism: Hypoparathyroidism affects 20% of people who have primary ovarian insufficiency. The word “hypo” refers to a lack of anything, and parathyroid hormone is a vital hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood.
  • Adrenal insufficiency: Adrenal insufficiency affects 50% of women with primary ovarian insufficiency. Adrenaline, cortisol, and aldosterone are all formed by the adrenal gland.

Main ovarian insufficiency treatment options, relief, and prevention

The signs of estrogen deficiency are addressed in the ovarian insufficiency treatment.

Estrogen replacement therapy

Replacing estrogen in the body will raise levels and protect against osteoporosis. Estrogen therapy can also help with symptoms, including hot flashes and dry skin. To protect the uterine lining from changes that can lead to cancer when too much estrogen is given alone, the doctor will prescribe estrogen with another hormone called progesterone. The use of estrogen plus progesterone has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and breast cancer for a long time. Hormone therapy, on the other hand, outweighs the risks in young women with primary ovarian insufficiency.

Supplements of calcium and vitamin D

Both of these compounds are important for osteoporosis prevention. If your baseline bone density is found to be poor, your physician may decide to start supplementation because you may not get enough from your diet or sunlight. Unfortunately, there is no simple cure for primary ovarian insufficiency-related fertility problems. Fertility cannot be recovered, but you should speak to your doctor about other ovarian insufficiency pregnancy choices like in vitro fertilization and infant alternatives like adoption or surrogacy.

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