In menopause, a woman will likely never have another menstrual period again; women with premature ovarian failure are much more likely to get periods, even if they come irregularly.
A woman in menopause has virtually no chance of getting pregnant; a woman with premature ovarian failure has a greatly reduced chance of getting pregnant, but pregnancy is still possible.
Signs and symptoms of premature ovarian failure are similar to those experienced by a woman going through menopause and are typical of estrogen deficiency. They include:
Irregular or skipped periods (amenorrhea), which may be present for years or may develop after a pregnancy or after stopping birth control pills, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irritability or difficulty concentrating, decreased sexual desire.
Although the exact cause of primary ovarian insufficiency may be unknown, a genetic factor or a problem with the body's immune systemmay play a role in some women. In an immune system disorder, the body may attack its own tissues—in this case, the ovaries.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is one treatment for premature ovarian failure.
Currently, there is no proven treatment to restore normal function to a woman's ovaries, But there are treatments for some of the symptoms of POI, as well as treatments and behaviors to reduce health risks and conditions associated with POI.
It is also important to note that between 5% and 10% of women with POI get pregnant without medical intervention after they are diagnosed with POI. Some research suggests that these women go into what is known as "spontaneous remission" of POI, meaning that the ovaries begin to function normally on their own. When the ovaries are working properly, fertility is restored and the women can get pregnant.