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Premature Ovarian Failure
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Premature Ovarian Failure

I am currently 29 years old. I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure close to two years ago now. Initially, I quit having my menstrual cycle at the age of twenty. My menstrual cycles began to fade and come once, twice, or three times a year when I was fifteen and it continued on like that until I was 20 when I finally quit having them.

I would like to know what I need to do now in order to make sure that I am still as healthy as I can be. What conditions are going to happen/ have already happened since this diagnosis was confirmed?

- premature menopause    ( I don't know if I have already gone thru menopause, but my doctors say I had to of because of my condition)

- premature osteoperosis


To make matters a bit more difficult, some specialists think I may have Chronic Pancreatis (pancreatitis) and I have no idea what that is or what that means?

I have arthritis in my lower back/ could that be due to the premature ovarian failure?

I am only 29 and don't understand why my health is at this level right now?  I've had a lot of abdominal pains too for years and the doctors/ specialists that I have been seeing have no idea what is causing it?

I get numbness in my hands and feet a lot too, just recently, and don't know what's going on??????




*PS. I don't know where I'm suppose to post this for a response from a DR, so I've posted it in a few places/ not knowing if the other places were correct as well. _L
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Premature Menopause or Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) is a fairly common condition. It affects about 1-2% of women. As you likely know, the diagnosis applies to menopause when it occurs before age 40. I have a number of women in my practice that have the same situation and it started just as early. So you are far from the only one. The good new is that you are still healthy, even if you have this condition. But it is wise to look into ways to stay that way. Here are some suggestions.

First of all, get a bone density. Women with POF lose bone growth faster than women who are still ovulating. It is one reason that many women with this condition chose to go on estrogen. Talk with your doctor about this. Also try to exercise 30 minutes daily to protect your bone health.

Also take a multivitamin and calcium supplement (600 to 1200 mg daily). Other things depend on the cause of the POF. About half the time we don't know why it happens. Some women have a genetic cause that can be diagnosed with a karyotype (chromosome analysis of their blood). For some it is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks the hormone producing cells in the ovary. If that is the cause, there is a higher chance of other conditions such as hypothyroid disease, and others. Pancreatitis is not necessarily due to POF. It is important to see a GI specialist if you have that problem because the condition can become serious and it needs to be treated in the best way possible so it doesn't cause you any more problems than necessary.

Numbness in hands and feet could be due to a number of things and really require seeing a doctor and having a work up. Common things inclued Raynauds, an autoimmune condition that makes the blood vessels in the hands and feet narrow, especially when it is cold. But there are many other causes.

Another area is having a baby. It is very possible to have a baby with POF. However, it means that the egg must come from another woman and the sperm fertilized by your partner using in vitro fertilization methods. You would be able to carry and deliver the baby.

You are doing the most important thing that you can: you are trying to find out as much as you can and do what you need to do to stay healthy. With ongoing medical care, there is a good chance you will be able to do just that.
Machelle M. Seibel, MD
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