top of page

Premature Ovarian Insufficiency 

Has your period gone MIA, or are you waking up and finding yourself soaked in sweat every night? Maybe you're noticing that you've been struggling to concentrate and not feeling as sharp as you did once before? Well, these can be common symptoms experienced by a postmenopausal woman, but if you're too young for menopause then this is not normal. If you're nodding your head, “Yes,” it's time we talk about early menopause.

About 1 in 100 women will experience early menopausal symptoms—hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and really light periods that eventually just go away. It's estimated that as high as 90% of women never understand why they actually lost their period in the first place.



Signs of Early Menopause

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Spotting mid-cycle

  • Periods skipping

  • Hair loss

  • Fatigue

  • Thinning skin

  • Dropping breasts

  • Low libido, difficulty orgasming

  • Hot flashes

  • Brain fog

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Incontinence, bladder problems

  • Headaches

Causes of Early Menopause


It may be genetic. There are certain genetic disorders that are associated with premature ovarian failure. If your mom, sister, or grandmother went through early menopause then there is a good chance you will too. We tend to see this family trend in medicine. Research has shown us that as many as 20% of women who experience early menopause have a family member who's also experienced it.


Turner syndrome and Fragile X premutation are other genetic causes of POI.

Autoimmune Disease

The most common type of autoimmune disease that women experience is known as autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto's. Autoimmune thyroiditis has been linked to premature ovarian failure, as have other autoimmune diseases, like Addison's disease.



POI has been linked to various infections including mumps, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and cytomegalovirus.


Environmental Toxins

Smoking cigarettes or living in an area that exposes you to pesticides can actually put you at higher risk of premature ovarian failure or early menopause.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

If you've undergone chemo or radiation therapy, it is possible that this is the root cause of your early menopausal symptoms. You see, radiation and chemotherapy can block ovarian function.


A last and probably more obvious reason why you might be experiencing early menopause is if you've had an oophorectomy, which is when your ovaries are surgically removed. This is sometimes done as part of a hysterectomy.


Treatment Of Early Menopause


Estrogen therapy

Estrogen therapy can help prevent osteoporosis as well as relieve hot flashes and other symptoms of estrogen deficiency. Hormones may make your period come back, but they won't restore ovarian function. Depending on your health and preference, you might take hormone therapy until around age 50 or 51 — the average age of natural menopause.

Make That Body Move on the Daily

Regular exercise helps you balance your blood sugar, body weight, and stress response—all of which can help you feel better fast. Without exercise, we can't activate our thyroid hormones. Try pilates, yoga, bodyweight resistance, strength training and walks to help your hormones be at their best.

Eat a Hormone Friendly Diet

Eating a diet that's rich in antioxidants will also provide your ovaries with protection.

Sleep Well

Getting adequate sleep allows you to make ample melatonin, which will help protect the ovaries. Aim to get in bed by 10 pm and stay there. Try to avoid the screens 2 hours before bed. Try replacing the screen with a book or magazine or Kindle with warm light.

Ditch Environmental Toxins

If you're a smoker, you got to ditch that stuff because it's doing your lady parts no favors.


Learn about alternatives for having children

If you'd like to add to your family, consider donor eggs or adoption. It is possible to carry a pregnancy with POI.



A small percentage of women with primary ovarian insufficiency do spontaneously conceive. If you don't want to become pregnant, consider using birth control.


Keep your bones strong

Eat a calcium-rich diet, do weight-bearing exercises such as walking and strength training exercises for your upper body, and don't smoke. You may need calcium and vitamin D supplements. I also suggest a bone density scan.


Be open with your partner

Talk with and listen to your partner as you both share your feelings over this unexpected change in your plans for growing your family.


Mental Health

POI can create feelings of guilt, shame, and loss. Referral to a mental health provider may be necessary.



DaisyNetwork is a great site for support and more information on POI.

bottom of page