Midwest Reproductive Center

Premature Ovarian Failure

One of the complications of premature ovarian failure is infertility

Premature ovarian failure occurs when the ovaries stop functioning normally before age 40. This condition affects only about 1% of women. Dr. Dan Gehlbach, our board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, diagnoses and treats premature ovarian failure. Patients who visit our established Kansas City fertility center benefit from our experience with this rare condition.

What are the symptoms of premature ovarian failure?

Many of the symptoms of premature ovarian failure mimic those that women experience during menopause; however, it is not the same condition as premature menopause. Women who have premature ovarian failure may have menstrual periods on an irregular basis. It is an intermittent syndrome, with the ability to produce eggs failing at some times and func-tioning at others.

Women with premature menopause cannot get pregnant, and they will stop having a regular monthly period.
About 10% of women with premature ovarian failure may get pregnant with their own eggs with, or sometimes without, assisted reproductive technology.

At our Kansas City fertility center, we advise women to be aware of certain symptoms and report them to us.

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Night sweats
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Menstrual problems, such as irregular cycles or not having a period at all

Some women with premature ovarian failure may not experience any symptoms, and they may not discover that they have this condition until they come to our Kansas City fertility center for a fertility diagnosis and testing.

Causes and complications that we can address

While some causes of premature ovarian failure are unknown, the condition may occur due to several factors.

  • Autoimmune diseases that cause the immune system to produce antibodies that harm ovarian tissue
  • Genetic disorders such as Turner’s syndrome and Fragile X syndrome
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatment

Age can be a risk factor—the incidence of premature ovarian failure increases markedly between ages 35 and 40. In addition, having a family member with the condition also increases a woman’s risk.

Our Kansas City fertility center treats one of the complications caused by premature ovarian failure—infertility.

Diagnosis and treatment

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that women with premature ovarian failure see a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist for diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosing this condition may require a follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH test and blood tests to check estradiol levels and/or prolactin levels. We may also recommend a chromosomal analysis to test for Fragile X syndrome.

Treatment is often dictated by the complications that a woman with premature ovarian failure is experiencing. For example, if a woman is experiencing infertility, a common complication, the experienced team at our Kansas City fertility center may enlist hormonal and non-hormonal therapy to improve ovarian function.

Other women will need to consider the option of in vitro fertilization or IVF performed with donor eggs. Dr. Gehlbach educates patients about preventing osteoporosis.

Our Kansas City fertility center offers advanced care in a compassionate environment for women with premature ovarian failure

Premature ovarian failure can be a difficult diagnosis for women. We will stand beside you as you learn more about treating this condition and options for starting a family. Contact us for an appointment today.