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Premature Ovarian Failure V Menopause

That all important meeting has just started and a wave of heat suddenly comes out from nowhere starting from your feet to your head, and no amount of flapping of papers in front of you can suppress the rush of heat. You do as much as you can to maintain composure, and calm the irritation of emotions that are welling up inside.

These are symptoms that many can understand and especially those who are peri menopausal and in the later stages of menopause.

Menopause is the most natural transformation for women as they approach 50 years of age and a time when reproduction slows and fertility ceases due to the natural decline of follicles and eggs. The physical and emotional changes for some is overwhelming, especially with thoughts that you can no longer bare a child naturally, whilst facing the grace of acceptance that your body cannot produce anymore eggs.

However, in clinic we are treating more women in their late twenties and early thirties with menopausal like symptomology of hot flashes, night sweats, irregular periods and mood swings that are all indicative of menopause. However, for younger women the terms used are, premature ovarian failure or early menopause and poor ovarian reserve.

Premature ovarian failure occurs when your ovaries stop functioning before the age 40 due to little or no eggs, or for some the ovary function fails to produce follicles and eggs. This problem can develop during the teenage years, or could have been present from birth.

In some cases, the condition can develop after pelvic surgery or due to cancer treatment of radiation and chemotherapy, with some instances of premature ovarian failure being temporary.

1 in every 1000 women between the age of 15 – 29, and 1 in every 100 of 30- 39 year olds are diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. Investigations with the use of blood tests that check levels of Anti-Mullerian, Follicle Stimulating and Estrogen hormones can confirm diagnosis. But what does this really mean? How many follicles or eggs are left, and what are your chances of conceiving?

What happens to my eggs?

A woman is born on average of 2 million ovarian follicles. As she gets older and reaches puberty, follicles have al