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Don't Say 'Early Menopause,' It's Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Recently graduated from college and living in Los Angeles, Christine Eads went from doctor to doctor, hoping someone could figure out why her periods had stopped and why she often awoke in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.
They provided lots of possible explanations but no answers:
She was too skinny.
She suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
She should start taking the pill.
She should stop taking the pill.
But they pretty much agreed that there was no way a woman who hadn't menstruated in five years could conceive a baby.
Finally, her then-boyfriend learned of a National Institutes of Health doctor who studied women with her symptoms.
Eads moved back to her native Northern Virginia and went to see Lawrence Nelson, an obstetrician/ gynecologist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md.
Nelson immediately recognized that Eads had an uncommon condition called primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI. It affects fertility and leads to osteoporosis and other conditions related to inadequate estrogen production.
Once known as "premature menopause," the name change reflects how research has changed the way doctors think about the condition.
A RARE CONDITION
Primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI, affects
1 in 10,000 women by age 20
1 in 1,000 by age 30
1 in 100 by age 40