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Premature Ovarian Failure: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2024

What is the Premature Ovarian Failure?

Premature ovarian failure is also known as premature ovarian insufficiency. In this condition the treatment focuses on the loss of normal functions of the women’s ovaries before she turns 40. In case a woman’s ovaries fail, they stop producing the normal amount of hormone estrogen and even release eggs on a regular basis. The common result of this problem is infertility.

This condition may also develop during the early teen years for some women, depending on the cause and can be present from the time of birth as well. Irregular or no periods can signal towards premature ovarian failure. Infertility and menopause symptoms can also indicate towards this problem. However, it is still possible for women with premature ovarian insufficiency to become pregnant. The exact cause of this problem may still be unknown, however a genetic problem or body’s immunity system can have a role to play in this condition. Premature Ovarian failure can develop after hysterectomy or from other radiation and chemotherapy which is required for cancer treatments.

In order to diagnose the problem, your blood level of follicle-stimulating hormone will also be checked. If the amount of FHS in the body is higher than normal on more than a single day then this indicates towards the problem of premature ovarian failure. Low levels of estrogen with high FHS is also a sign of the same condition.

How is the Premature Ovarian Failure treatment done?

In order to start with the treatment of premature ovarian failure, your doctor will perform certain exams to identify the problem. You may be asked to go through tests like a simple pregnancy test, follicle stimulating hormone test, a prolactin test, an estradiol test, karyotop and FMR1 gene testing which looks at both the X chromosomes which makes sure that they appear normal.

The focus of the treatment for premature ovarian failure is to target the problems which arise from estrogen deficiency. Estrogen therapy may therefore be recommended. This therapy aims at preventing osteoporosis, and relieves hot flashes along with other symptoms of estrogen deficiency. Your doctor may also prescribe estrogen with the hormones progesterone, this is especially for women who still have their uterus. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements can also be suggested by your doctors in order to prevent osteoporosis. You may also be suggested to undergo a bone density testing before starting with the supplements in order to get a baseline bone density measurement. A 1,000 miligrams of calcium a day is recommended for wome between the age of 19 to 50. For women above 51years of age increasing the dose to 1,200 mg a day is also suggested.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Any woman who has premature ovarian failure sees symptoms similar to menopause. These symptoms include estrogen deficiency, difficulty conceiving, hot flashes, night sweats, decreased sexual desire and also irritability or difficulty in concentrating. You should also see a doctor when you miss your periods for three months or more.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Women who do not show any symptoms of premature ovarian failure are not under the threat of developing the condition and are therefore not eligible for the treatment.

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Are there any side effects?

Hormone therapy which is required for this condition can have side effects like tiredness, digestive system problems, hair thinning, muscle and bone changes, memory problems, weight gains, headaches and more. There are side effects to vitamin D supplements as well. These are stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, bone loss, kidney failure, elevated blood calcium levels among many other such problems.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Women suffering from this problem are expected to continue taking the supplements and therapies for as long as instructed by the doctor. Changing your diet according to the doctor’s recommendation is also necessary in such a case.

How long does it take to recover?

Since there is no definite treatment for this problem which can help in restoring the complication, there are still chances of the woman to get pregnant. However the chances are very less. Women need to continue their supplements and therapy treatment for as long as they cannot see the symptoms reducing.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The price of vitamin D supplements can start from Rs 200 and can go up to around Rs 2000 as well. Hormone therapies and doctor’s consultation fees will also cost additionally.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Since the condition cannot be completely cured, women can only take medications and hormone therapy treatment to reduce the symptoms.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

You can switch to natural remedies and lifestyle changes in order to see a difference in your POI condition. Some of the changes which you can make are keeping your bones strong by eating calcium rich diet and doing weight bearing exercises. You can also take supplements for calcium and Vitamin D. Keeping a track of your menstrual cycle and considering alternatives for having children are also suggested.

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Written ByDr. Jayashri S MBBS,MS - Obstetrics and GynaecologyGynaecology
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