Menopause is associated with aging, and usually begins between the ages of 40 and 50. During this time, your body begins to run out of healthy egg follicles to release during ovulation.
As a result, you can no longer become pregnant and your period will stop. Menopause is a natural occurrence and typically does not require treatment.
With premature ovarian failure, ovulation stops for a reason unassociated with age. Due to some sort of loss or dysfunction, your ovaries are no longer producing enough hormones or eggs to allow you to ovulate or have your period on a regular basis.
However, between 5 and 10% of women with premature ovarian failure can get pregnant. Unlike menopause, premature ovarian failure is not natural and does require treatment.
Complications Caused by Premature Ovarian Failure
Premature ovarian failure is associated with certain complications. The most obvious complication is infertility. If you are not getting your period on a regular basis, it is likely that you are also not ovulating properly. This can make it very difficult to become pregnant. There are also other complications associated with premature ovarian failure. These include:
- osteoporosis, due to hormone loss
- increased risk for heart disease
- increased risk of developing eye disorders, like glaucoma
- autoimmune disorders
Treating Premature Ovarian Failure
If you are diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, it is a good idea to discuss your treatment options with your health care provider. Treatment for the condition can help you to become pregnant and can also help you to avoid some of the complications associated with premature ovarian failure.
Fertility Drugs: Fertility drugs tend to be the first line of treatment for women with premature ovarian failure. Fertility drugs are medications that can help to stimulate ovulation and regulate your period. Commonly used fertility drugs include:
Egg Donation: Women who are having difficulties producing healthy, viable eggs can sometimes turn to an egg donor to help conceive a child.
In-Vitro Fertilization For women who are having difficulties becoming pregnant due to premature ovarian failure, IVF is often used to help conception.