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Menopause Health Center

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Primary Ovarian Insufficiency - Topic Overview

How is primary ovarian insufficiency diagnosed? continued...

To check for possible ovarian failure, your blood level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) will be checked. FSH signals your body to release an egg every month. If the amount of FSH in your blood is higher than normal on more than one day, you may have primary ovarian insufficiency. Another blood test also may be done to measure the amount of estradiol (or estrogen) in your blood. Very low estrogen with a high FSH is a sign of primary ovarian insufficiency.

Some women find out they have primary ovarian insufficiency when they see a doctor because they are having trouble getting pregnant.

How is it treated?

Treatment for primary ovarian insufficiency will help you manage your symptoms. But there is currently no treatment that will make the ovaries start to work properly again. Your doctor may prescribe hormone therapy or other medicines to help with hot flashes. Hormone therapy can also help prevent early bone loss in women who have this condition. Talk to your doctors about which treatments may be right for you.

Some women with primary ovarian insufficiency may choose to try to become pregnant using donor eggs and in vitro fertilization. For more on this treatment, see the topic Fertility Problems.

Finding out you have primary ovarian insufficiency can be extremely upsetting, especially for a woman who hopes to become pregnant. You may want to get support through counseling. You also can find information and support through the International Premature Ovarian Failure Association support group, available online at

Can primary ovarian insufficiency be prevented?

At this time, there is no way to prevent primary ovarian insufficiency. But you can take steps to protect your overall health. Women with this condition have a higher risk of bone thinning and fractures (osteoporosis), diabetes, and heart disease. A balanced and low-fat diet, regular exercise, and not smoking can help protect your bones and heart. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D may help slow bone loss. Talk to your doctor about other steps you can take.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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