Achieving pregnancy, the whole journey, and finally having your baby is a dream that every couple strive to live. But there are several couples who face difficulty in conception. Several factors contribute to this condition and can be associated with either female or male partner. One of the factors related to women that cause difficulty in conceiving is the premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI). In this condition your ovaries stop producing estrogen, a hormone that gives you ability to get pregnant.
The good news is that, there are ways the premature ovarian failure can be treated. Doctors would choose the best possible treatment to help you achieve parenthood. One of the most important factors that govern the results of the treatment is the clinic and practitioners. Neelkanth Hospital is a super speciality hospital that provides excellent care and quality services to resolve your issues. The expertise and experience of the team of doctors make it an unrivalled in the field. State-of-art equipment ensures accuracy in diagnosis and treatment. Compassionate attitude of the doctors and support staff would make your visit/stay pleasant.
Understanding premature ovarian failure
Normally, ovaries produce a hormone called estrogen. The hormone administers your menstrual periods and fertility. It is this hormone that develops your ability to conceive child. With age your ovaries stop producing this hormone. This happens when you reach menopause stage that is generally near late forties and early fifties. But some women lose the estrogen production before hitting 40. This is termed as premature ovarian failure.
If you notice reduced formation of eggs and irregular menstrual periods, it can be POI taking a toll on your system. The symptoms are similar to those you observe during the transition into menopause. But the condition is different. In menopause, even if it occurs before 40 (premature menopause), your periods and egg formation stops and you can never get pregnant. On the contrary, some women can have occasional period despite the POI and the condition can be managed with treatment to a certain extent. In such cases you still a chance to get pregnant.
The cause of POI is not definite. Some research explains the cause to be related with follicles, small sacs in the ovary in which the egg grows. Sometimes your follicles do not function properly or you may run out of working ones early leading to POI. Various other factors are believed to affect the production of estrogen including genetics, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, intake of toxins like cigarette smoke, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals.
How the problem is identified?
There is no definite indication of the condition. Most of the times, you would not realise that you have premature ovarian failure. Women with POI can still have their periods and get pregnant. However, some of them are unable to achieve motherhood. This is what triggers a visit to and examination by the doctors. The most prominent sign of POI are missed and few and far between periods. Your periods may start and then again stop for years. You can also feel hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and depression, mood swings, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness causing discomfort during sexual intercourse, and reduce sex drive.
Treatments for premature ovarian failure
Before your doctor starts the treatment he/she would conduct some tests to rule out other possible reasons causing difficulty in pregnancy or irregular or stopped periods. The first is blood test conducted to measure the presence of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and estradiol. Both the hormones determine the production and release of eggs by the ovary. Further imaging tests may also be conducted.
There is no definite treatment for POI but there are ways to mitigate your symptoms and reduce the risks POI can project you to. Some methods may also give you chances to embrace motherhood. Treatments options that your doctor would consider are:
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Supplements for Vitamins and Minerals
- Treatment for Allied Conditions
- Lifestyle Changes
- In-Vitro Fertilization
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common treatment used to manage POI. During the treatment you are given hormones, estrogen and progestin, which your ovaries is no more producing. These hormones can be given orally, through your skin, or put in your vagina. HRT significantly improve your sexual health. It also potentially helps in administrating risks like heart diseases and osteoporosis. The medication is given until you reach the age when you menopause would normally start.
Weakened bones or bone loss is common with POI which is why your doctor would prescribe you supplements for vitamin D and calcium daily to maintain bone health.
Several other health problems can accompany POI like depression, eye problems, heart diseases, impaired thyroid function, etc. Treatment for these conditions is also necessary to reduce the risk.
You have to make regular exercise an integral part of your life and maintain proper body weight to mitigate the risk of other health problems.
You can talk to your doctor and discuss your options to achieve pregnancy. In many cases, IVF can be help you start your family.