Sometimes women with POF experience erratic periods for years, others first notice skipped periods after a pregnancy or
after discontinuing the use of birth control pills. The signs and symptoms of premature ovarian failure are similar to those
experienced by a woman going through menopause and are typical of estrogen deficiency.
Premature ovarian failure is sometimes mistakenly called premature menopause, but the two conditions are not exactly the
same: Women with premature menopause stop having periods, while women with premature ovarian failure may have sporadic periods
for years — and may even become pregnant.
Premature ovarian failure occurs when there are few or no "responsive" follicles left in your ovaries (follicle depletion)
or when the follicles aren't responding properly (follicle dysfunction).
Please visit our ‘Monthly Cycle’ page if you would like a refresher on what ‘normally’ happens with your ovaries during the monthly cycle.
What can cause POF?
POF may be caused by genetic factors such as chromosome abnormalities. It may also occur with certain autoimmune disorders
that disrupt normal ovarian function, such as Hypothyroidism, Graves' disease, or Lupus.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments are common causes of POF. Other toxins such as cigarette smoke, chemicals,
pesticides and viruses may hasten ovarian failure.
Risk Factors of POF
Age. The risk of ovarian failure rises as you age. The incidence of developing premature
ovarian failure is about one in 250 by age 35 and one in 100 by age 40.
Having a family history of premature ovarian failure increases your risk of developing this disorder. About 10 percent of
cases are familial.