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Premature Ovarian Failure

Premature ovarian failure (POF), sometimes called premature ovarian insufficiency, occurs when the ovaries (the twin female organs that produce and release an egg each monthly cycle) stop working before a woman turns 40. When they stop working, women don’t ovulate or produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen, which puts them at risk for serious conditions such as osteoporosis and heart disease, as well as infertility.

In the United States, POF affects about 1 in every 100 women. The most common signs of POF are irregular or missed menstrual periods—especially if they are accompanied by hot flashes. Periods may occur off and on, or may start again many years after being diagnosed with POF. Other symptoms may include:

• Night sweats
• Vaginal dryness
• Irritability
• Difficulty concentrating

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The Hormone Foundation

Dr. Lysette Iglesias M.D.

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