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Premature Ovarian Failure

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You are considered to have premature ovarian failure (POF) if you are 40 years old or younger and your ovaries no longer ovulate (release eggs).

What Is Premature Ovarian Failure?

Premature ovarian failure — also known as primary ovarian insufficiency or hypergonadotropic hypogonadismis — is a stop in the normal functioning of the ovaries in a woman younger than age 40.

POF used to be called premature menopause, but it is not the same as menopause. Menopause is a natural occurrence, but POF is not. If you have POF you might continue to get your period, even if it comes irregularly, and a small percentage of women with POF are able to conceive. Menopausal women stop having their periods completely and cannot get pregnant.

About 250,000 to 1 million women in the U.S. have POF. It affects 1 in every 100 women between the ages of 30-39 and approximately 1 in every 1,000 between the ages of 15-29. You can get it at any age or time in your life, whether or not you have had children.

What Causes Premature Ovarian Failure?

Normally, follicles in the ovaries supply women with eggs until age 51, the average age of natural menopause when the supply of eggs is used up. Follicles are also important because they release the hormone estrogen, which is crucial for a woman’s overall health and bone health.

Although researchers know the ovaries stop functioning normally in POF, in most cases they do not know exactly what causes it. It may be the follicles in your ovaries are not working properly. Or it may be that you have run out of follicles, and there is no way to make more. In some cases, POF may be genetic and run in families.

How Does POF Affect Fertility?

Loss of ovarian function affects your fertility because you are not forming or releasing an egg (oocyte). There is no fertility treatment that can restore the normal functioning of your ovaries.

You also should be aware that insufficient estrogen can lead to serious health problems such as osteoporosis (decreased bone density), which can be successfully treated.


Comments (71)

Found out just now that I have pof due to an autoimmune disease at age 12-13:( I am only 14 years old:(

Hello Marles, I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis and I commend you for being proactive and reaching out to someone so that you can receive help. You need to tell your mom that you need to consult with a fertility specialist the technical name for the specialist is a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Do not waste any time in asking your mom to help you find a specialist.

Your mom can call us at 855-955-2229

I will write again soon. I'm so shocked to of come across this site as when I had no hope a few years ago it would have been nice to chat with people in a similar situation. I do have messed up periods still luckily and was sterilized and referred me for iv age 23 it was then then i discovered I had POFS too. All they talked about was donor eggs and I excepted this as an option but went ahead to try 2 x cycles with my own eggs if any retrieved. Sadly, I had a chemical miscarriage 1st time and the ivf unit wanted to give up on my eggs but I cried and begged and they gave me another try and I had success :-) my beautiful baby girl felt like a miracle. I named her Seren kay. ( Seren for star in welsh) born with 7 strawberry birthmarks. Lucky number 7 n like the 7 stars named 7 sisters.. i wish u all happiness no matter what way you achieve it.

I am 23 yrs old. I was just diagnosed with POF. I hadn't had a period in a year and figured it could be something serious. So after the diagnosis I was scoring the internet to find how this could happen at this age. One thing that I came across is Fragile X Syndrome. If you are under 30 when you are diagnosed it is probably the cause. I would look into it. I am going to see genetic counseling so I can convince them that yes I do really want to know if I have Fragile X. What I read is that it is the only know cause of POF in women under 30.

hi! i was first diagnosed with high prolactin, i've been on medications ever since to reduce it. after it was normalized my period did not start and i was then told that my uterus did not mature in order to start menstruation. i never got my period and i was first diagnosed at the age of 16 and now im nearly 22 and on HRT. Im not sure what the next step cause all these hormonal therapies i tried did not start my period. i cant bare the thought of not having children or a future in parent hood or a chance to create a family.

I was diagnosed at the age of 17 , I never got a period and was told I have POF , I am now in my mid 40's and never had a child . My words to you are to try all possible to conceive . My life would have been more joyful with a child or children, that was taken away from me and I cry many nights . I pray they find a way to help you conceive . Best wishes

I have never had a period and im 21 years old I am good with children and I was told I would never have children it makes me sad but the worst part is not living life to the fullest with my partner. I am always tired and my sex life is good but it is hard to start because of the dryness this makes me sad please if you find out any more let me know thank you

At the age of 27 my fish level was just about 100 and I was having few periods, hot flushes and bad night swears. I too felt as though I was grieving even though I had two lovely children. I'm now 33 and have probably only had about 5th roods in the last six years I still suffer from flushes and night sweats but find my self longing for another child. What do you think my chances are.

I'm now 25 years old I had one period my whole life when I was 17 and it lasted up to two hours and never came back . I'm living off of a minimum wage paycheck so can't really afford to go to a doctor so I decided to come on here and see if I can get any answers from people who may know what it is or may be going through the same thing that has went to the doctor and knows the answer of what I could possible have wrong with me ?

Hello ladies After reading all the posts I can honestly relate. I was diagnosed with POF 3 years ago. Me and my husband has been married for 4 years. When I turned 18 I was only getting my period 2 times a year, by the age of 20 it had completely stopped. Before I was diagnosed my Dr put me on a pill called provera. The pill worked the first week I started taking it I got my period. Then when I took it the following six weeks no period. I was devastated, I was 25 at the time and the youngest of 4. All of my siblings have children, I even got a nephew that has a child. IM now 28 and me and my husband desire to have children. I cry just about everyday, it's a painful thought knowing that I won't have my own child. It's true it's every woman's dream to become a great mother. Sometimes I find it very difficult to look at a pregnant woman or looking at babies. I have so many different symptoms, for the past week now I have had pains in my lower abdomen and sore nipples........I am hoping for the best for us all. Trust & believe that God has the last say!

I came across this blog looking for resources about hormone treatment for POF. I'm 36 yrs old and was diagnosed with POF at 28. I then developed all the signs of flashes, night sweets, insomnia, depression, and cognitive issues. I was extremely depressed for years because I didn't understand why this had happened to me. I also grieved for my unborn children for several years. About 3 years ago, my husband and I decided to explore our fertility options. Donor egg was our only good option. That was hard to accept. After 3 attempts of IVF with a donor egg, we have a beautiful daughter. When i look at her, I don't think about us not sharing DNA. When I look at her, I see God's love and am reminded she was specifically and specially created by Him for my husband and I. All children are a loan for The Lord. So if they are biologically related or not, they are to be loved. This has been a hard diagnoses to accept, but I finally have. I will never know why it happened to me, but I am still thankful. I pray and hope my experience will encourage you. We often go through trials in ordered to be used to help someone else.


Thanks for sharing your story! I, too was diagnosed with POF at age 26 (now 30) and we are finally ready (and literally about to start) our 1st DE IVF (4 failed IVFs with my eggs). It's awesome to hear how much you love your little miracle!! I also suffer with bad hot flashes and night sweats, hoping to be able to start HRT after this DE cycle. Best of luck! And thanks again for sharing... it certainly gives me more hope!!

Take care,

I'm thankful my story has given you hope. I pray your DE IVF will be a success. What regimen of HRT were you taking? Prior to my pregnancy, I was on birth control pills which helped to alleviate the hot flashes, but it caused severe mood swings. Have you taken estradiol/progesterone? I'm having a hard time finding a physician who feels comfortable treating hypoestrogenism due to POF. Even my local endocrinologist declined to treat me. I have an upcoming appointment with my GYN, so hopefully we will discuss an appropriate regimen. Again, good luck with your upcoming IVF. Storm

You do not need your child to be your own blood and genes for you to be a great mother. Adopting is a great way to help an abandoned child and to give them a chance for a good life. In the end it does not matter who gave birth for one hour but who takes care of the child for a lifetime. I have a POF and me and my partner can not have biological children but we are fine with it and we will be very happy to adopt a child. Try to change your mindset as thinking negatively will surely not help you!!

my dear gals well i have read all the post and its sad that we cant have kids or allow ourselves get into relationships. for we worry that what if the relationship get serious how do we tell our partner. i for one am a very strong believer and a born again i believe that its only through prayer that we can beat this POF. we need top stand in prayer for ourselves. as the bible says that by his stirpes we were healed we take that healing in the name of Jesus Christ. we should remember that POF IS JUST A NAME but there is at greater name and that is the name of JESUS CHRIST. and at the mention of his name even POF will bow because JESUS' NAME IS GREATER.SO LET US BE STRONG IN THE LORD for he is our HEALER. I will always have u in my prayers

I am trying to understand what all this means. AMH 0.63 ng/mL. AMH 0.48 (redo). Estradiol <20 pg/mL (3rd day of period). FSH 11.1 mIU/mL (3rd day of period). Ultrasound of ovaries: 8 follicles on one side; 6 on other. Tested negative for Fragile X. Mother had menopause at 31 and her sister (my aunt) had it at age 30. I am 26, otherwise healthy as far as I know.

Hi there, FSH between 9 and 11 is fair, meaning you could still conceive with your own eggs. FSH, AMH, and Antral Follicle Count are the best predictors of ovarian reserve, so it seems like your reserve is declining, but there is definitely still hope! Have you been working with a fertility doctor? Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email if you would like to connect with a trusted fertility doctor in our network! Best, Kim

i was having my periods jst fine until i was diagnosed wit ovarian cyst when i was 21yrs. I went for operation and even saw my periods again up to this day. When i went to the doctor about this he said am infertil and wil never bare child the old fashion way. I was crushed, while i was mourning my discovery, my young sister got prgnant, then my best friend got pregnant. It was horrible, i cried myself to sleep for a long long time. I couldnt understand why something so horrible can happen to me. I wanted to give up on life, i thought why continue school and have a prosprious life if not for my kids. Am 26yrs now and i want to try treating myself, i need a bby. I need a bby. ppl around me are jst hving abortion(am a Dr) and its killing me.

Hi Smangele, I am so sorry you are going through this. Have you considered seeing a fertility doctor? We can help you connect with a reputable doctor who specializes in ovarian cysts and conditions like Premature Ovarian Failure. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email Best, Kim

When I was 20 I got early menopause nearly six years I hav'nt got any child I love children I do not know how to adopt a child very quic

I was diagnosed with POF in 2002 after 15 yrs of painful periods just stopped. in 2004, I was dx as celiac. turns out undiagnosed Celiac caused all that. here I am at 38, still crying for the babies I'll never have. I've been gluten free since 2004 & still no obvious ovulation even though the RE said I still had a chance. even though I know I have a better chance of hitting the lottery, I still keep wishing that I'll be a Mommy someday.

Hi Emma - I too was dx with Celiac, 2004 same year as you! I'm 36 and have been on a GF diet for 10 years now and just told I have POF, I can't believe it! They always say with a GF diet your fertility will improve?! When I asked my RE about infertility linked to celiac, I said it always appears to be with women who aren't dx yet. He said it didn't matter as its an autoimmune diseases. I wish I would have known this earlier. Crying with you.

i am 27 now i was 14 had my first and only period but didnt find out i had pof till i was 18 at first i was put on birth control then i changed gyno a couple yrs after then that dr said there was no reason to be on them and was changed to compi-patch which is estrogen and progesterone i was heart broken i have always thought i would be a good mom i try not to think bout it but i have them days when all i do is think bout not being able to have children i dont have a problem with adopting a child i just would love to have a part of me left behind when im gone

Hello! Had to share my experience with you. At 11 yrs I got my first period, everything was fine, always came on time, and it was not painful at all. I mean I could work out and do all my regular activities while on my period. Then at age 19 no more periods. Just went away. I waited 6 months before going to dr. They told me this was normal for underweight, athletic type girls. But not I worry, it would come back. They gave me birthcontrol which I took to force a period every third month. I got married at 22 and all was the same until I turned 25. I began to have heavy hot flashes at night and hit flashes during the day that made me dizzy, they were so strong. Then I couldn't fall asleep for 3 months straight!!!! I had a panic attack and a break down at this point. I didn't know what was wrong with me and drs only wanted to switch to a different birthcontrol pill. I started seeing a bhrt dr, and it helped a little but, the estrogen patches and progesterone pills were making me hurt in my lower abdomen and back. Also I had breast tenderness and woke up with blood for months. I gave up on it, after 8 months. I immediately tried acupuncture with hopes my ovaries would wake up and work again. I had heard very good things about it. 1 year of weekly 45 min sessions later, I did see results with no anxiety and better sleep but still not 100% normal. Besides that, I still have hotflashes especially during the day. I never got my period back. So I gave up on that too. I don't know what to do next. I'm 27 yrs old and know the risks of living without hormones, osteoporosis and heart failure, early aging are just a few the drs made clear to me. But I believe there is something out there that can help. I think next I will try homeopathic route. A full detox like the previous writer mentioned.

Reading all the comments about people with POF is really upsetting; everyone seems to have a different and unique story. I found out that I had POF when I was just 14 years old, yes at a very young age. I am now 21. Finding out at such a young age was very difficult because I didn't understand all the medical terms. Just knowing that I wasn't able to have a baby was hurtful enough, every girl dreams of having a child. I cried for two weeks straight, and I'm constantly reminded of it when I take my birth control every day.
At first I blamed my parents, mostly my mother, thinking of how they could create a child with such a horrible disease. I was in denial, and I still am that I have it. I haven't really done much research on it because I faced the fact that I would never be in a relationship and I wouldn't have a child.
It took me three years to finally tell my close friends that I've known my whole life. I only told them after my best friend told me that she found out she had no ovaries because her immune system is so strong, that it got rid of her ovaries, so she can't have kids. After hearing her story I knew it was time to tell them mine. I feel like me and my best friend were destined to be friends.
Just a couple of months ago, I met this great guy, and I became really close with him, and I felt like some of our conversations were disconnected because he didn't know about me, so I decided to tell him about my POF. To my surprise, he didn't stop talking to me, but I know how much it means to him to have kids since he is the only one in his family to carry on his mothers' genes. He adores kids and would be devastated to not have them. When I go to my doctor in August I'm going to actually talk to her about my condition. I know of the sperm donor thing and adoption, but I just wouldn't be able to do those things because it wouldn't be genetically my child. I want to learn more about this condition because I would love to have kids someday, naturally. Any support and stories about people conceiving naturally would be great. I don't ever talk to anyone about my condition.

I'm only 22years old and I was diagnosed with POF only a few days ago. I was devastated when I got the diagnosis, I didn't know how to feel as I hadn't planned on having children till later on in life a bit. I'm still trying to come to terms with it as I only found out a few days ago, my partner has been very supported and reasured me that he will stand by me what ever option i decide. It was explained to me that if I wish to have children I should start trying now but I think I need more time to get my head around the diagnosis. This has proven very difficult for me but I suspose it will take time.

do any of you find that you have a lot of troubles sleeping. you are tired but when you actually lay down and try and sleep you just cant? and do any of you also find it hard to have an orgasm as well because i have never had one and i believe it is because of my P.O.F

Thanks for your comment. I found out my POF diagnosis in January. We still don't have any kids and I've never had an orgasm either. I'm pretty devastated and don't know what to do. I think the two are related as well...has anyone else had the same problem?

hey everyone well with my story i was pretty much born with P.O.F, i never received my period so by the time i was 16 my mom started taking me around to the doctors so we could figure out why i wasn't getting my monthly cycle. None of the doctors really could explain it finally by the time i was 17 or 18 i was told that i hit menopause at a young age. explains y i was such a mean angry lil kid lol. by the time i was 20 they told me at was actually something called P.O.F. than when i was 21 they wanted to run a bone density test on me, well that came back as being positive for osteoporosis. they say its a 99% chance i wont have kids, and that i have to take calcium and vitamin D pills for the rest of my life and also may someday lead to more medical issues. so now im 25 and taking life day by day, but if there is anyone else like me who has had this their whole life please let me know how its all turned out for you.

I was born with POF as well. In that case it was called Primary Ammnorea Premature Ovarian Failure or Primary POF. I just never got a period. It took 9 years to get a name for it. It was hard because I have known since I was 17 there would be no chance of kids. I am now 36 I never could afford IVF with Donor egg. I am trying IVF with donor embro its only $5000 compaired to $30,000. I always felt odd and the older I got the harder it was because everyone else had a family but me. I have learned to somewhat deal with it but it has always hurt. I really wondered if I was the only primary out there.....

I was 17 when I to found out about my diagnosis. The Drs at first just thought that my issues were due to depression, but when they found out that I have never had a period they started investigating. My FSH was over 100 and I was given some birth control for HRT and sent on my way. This really is a life long journey and there is so much stuff to learn and things you want to try because all you have is your hope. I have been with my husband for 6yrs and married for a little over 2yrs and have been trying to have a baby for a long time now. I am turning 25 this month and I too have never ran into anyone with the same exact story line of being born with this condition. I would love to talk and compare storys. Also I have the same issue of being drag out exhausted and as soon as I lay down I can't for the life of me fall asleep. I really look forward to talking to you! my email is if you want to talk!

Hi, I also have POF with Primary Amenorrhea. I have never in my life had a natural period. I am 26 years old, and had been miss diagnosed for the past 8 years with PCOS. I'm in the process of scheduling an appointment for a second opinion. I want to know that I have tried everything prior to considering other methods of having a family. I feel like we need a support group specific to our condition. If anyone wishes to talk you can do so at

I just wanted to post my experience here. A year ago I was diagnosed with pof and was shattered. I just didn't believe it. I fought to find out why and wanted to know why the symptoms I had weren't consistent with pof - my fsh was over 100! But I had migranes and abdominal pain in one ovary as well as noise in my ears. Turned out I had a pituitary tumour. But still they said I have premature ovarian failure. My endocrinologist said my best option was egg donation and gave me nothing to treat my tumour. A bad reaction to the pill meant I couldn't control my symptoms. But I was on the pill long enough to generate cycles. I had two natural periods then bam! Pregnant. My pregnancy lasted 8 short weeks but I was happy to know my body was trying to work. Then two weeks later my symptoms started again. It might be the tumour or it might be something else but I will continue to fight the diagnosis, fight the symptoms and fight the tumour to get my fertility back. Drs said I can't but I've already proved them wrong and I'll do it again. Had I not screamed for that MRI I might have lived with premature ovarian failure my whole life but I won't accept it because it's my body and I know I can beat this.

I've been married 6 yrs and we are now ready to have kids but its too sad to find out that i'm suffering POF. My doctor told me that the only remedy to get pregnant is to do donor egg. I'm just wondering if there's any other option I can do before I will do donor egg? Pls help!

Believe me, i can relate to you better than anyone else out there.
I wish you my dear all the best in whatever you decide to do.

Good luck and don't forget you are a Survivor not a Victim.


My name is Tayyeba, i am 38 years old and married currently to my second husband. Never had a period in my life. Docs did all tests over and over again from age of 17 and found no reason for that except that maybe due to extremely low estradiol levels and psychological trauma as a kid. Needed an emergency abdominal hysterectomy recently (only uterus removed). It was hell, but discontinued a much worse situation and my husband was and has been very supportive.
I would appreciate any replies or questions. I am no doctor but i am a Survivor of POF and can maybe put a smile on your face.

I have to just comment and say that I too was about 17 when I was diagnosed with POF. I actually had one real period...then it never came back again. I wasnt to worried b/c what girl at 17 wants a period? I am struggling now that i am 30 and want children. It's honestly the hardest thing i've ever had to deal with and i feel like no one understands what i am going through. I am going to read your blog and hope that it makes me feel better. I have had 3 unsuccessful ivf with donor eggs (found out my donor was infertile too) and two donor embryos. I just feel lost and confused.

I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good. I also found your posts very interesting. In fact after reading, I had to go show it to my friend and he enjoyed it as well!

Oh my god! I have to respond because of the last post. I have never read about someone ad young as me with these problems.

I stopped having a period at age 17 and thought I was pregnant. Turned out i wasn't and was put on Yasmin. I stopped taking it within a year because the symptoms were terrible and again, no period. Went back to the obgyn and turned out my FSH levels were "through the roof" (I don't remember the exact number) and my estrogen levels were extremely low. I was 18 and was told I had POF/perimenopause and that I had no eggs and could never become pregnant. Every specialist after this was flabbergasted and said they had never seen someone so young go through this after developing secondary sex characteristics and actually having regular periods prior.

After a few years of trying birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy I gave up. Stopped going to doctors and stopped all medication, and accepted my new fate. I thought I was going through menopause. I felt like I was grieving a loss of a child. I could have an eight year old daughter right now if I had really been pregnant. It took a while but eventually I became okay with it and found peace of mind with being the way I am. And hey, at least I don't have to buy tampons.

EIGHT YEARS later, I am now 25. I started having some disturbing heart palpitations and other problems and ended up being referred to a place in Atlanta - Progressive Medical Center. For the first time ever this doctor was actually interested in helping me with everything including POF, rather than shrugging me off as a medical mystery. He believes it's all related and that my adrenal glands are overactive and could be causing the insomnia, palpitations, asthma, even the lack of periods.

I have been on a detox diet that each new patient follows prior to specific treatment. No dairy from cows, no gluten, no caffeine, no alcohol, and no soy. And 12 glasses of water a day.

Well, it has been three weeks since I started detoxing and I can't believe it. Not only have I lost 10 pounds- I just got my period. I am absolutely shocked. This isn't something they said would happen- at least not just simply by detoxing.
There could be hope! I am nervous and excited. Not sure what will happen next or if i could potentially conceive. Im amazed to hear about someone my age going through the same thing.

So to you, don't feel lost. I know how you feel. And it will be okay.

Hi Sarah Just wondered if you could post details of the diet please?? Are you still following the diet, & are your periods more regular since your original post please?? Thanks xx

Hi Sarah!
Thank you so much for posting. I have been "dx" with this for a few years, but I believe that my body is just not getting what it needs to support ovulation...your post is so interesting and I would love if you can send more information tome about the specifics of the diet, and the doctor you have seen. If you would email me, that would be awesome too! Thank you!

Can you pls post the diet

Please Please tell me the name of the doctor and the hospital phone number ect. Really need a miracle My period stop 2 years ago Thanks sooo much


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