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Diagnosis & Treatment of POF
If your periods are irregular or have stopped, your doctor will ask you to have a blood test that measures the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH helps control a woman’s menstrual cycle and the production of eggs. This blood test helps determine whether or not your ovaries are working properly and evaluates your egg supply. The test is done on the third day of the menstrual cycle, and usually two tests, a month apart, are recommended. If you have a higher than normal amount of FSH in your blood on more than one day, you may have Premature Ovarian Failure (POF).
Another way to diagnose POF is by a test that measures the amount of estradiol, an important form of estrogen, in your blood. This test determines your ovarian function and evaluates the quality of the eggs. Like FSH, it’s done on the third day of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Once your ovaries have stopped working, there is no treatment to make them start working normally again. You can, however, treat some of the symptoms of POF.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often given to women with POF to give them the estrogen and other hormones no longer produced by their ovaries. HRT is usually made up of a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It can be taken as a pill or as a patch that sticks to your skin. The patch is often the preferred form since it releases estrogen in a continuous flow into the blood stream in the same way the body does naturally. The amount and the combination of each hormone you get in HRT varies for each woman.
Taking HRT will give you regular periods again and may help with hot flashes and other symptoms. It may also prevent early bone loss and lower your risk of osteoporosis.