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What is Primary Ovarian insufficiency?

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Explained: What You Should Know.
October 19, 2023

What is POI (Primary Ovarian Insufficiency)?

POI, also known as premature ovarian failure, occurs when a woman's ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40. The worldwide incidence of this condition is about 1%. Apart from resulting in amenorrhea (no periods) and impaired fertility, this condition can affect a lot of other bodily functions due to hormonal changes that accompany it. Women with this condition may experience symptoms similar to those of menopause.

Why does it happen?

  • Chromosomal anomalies: Some genetic conditions are linked to primary ovarian insufficiency. These diseases include Turner Mosaic syndrome,  in which some cells of your body have only one X chromosome, instead of 2 X chromosomes found in females, and Fragile X syndrome where and in which X chromosomes are fragile and break

  • Toxins: Certain treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or radiation exposure can make changes in the genetic material in our cells. Certain other environmental toxins like chemicals and pesticides in food, cigarette smoke have also been implicated in the damaging genetic material in cells resulting in this condition. Certain viral infections may also cause irreversible damage in the cells and may also accelerate ovarian failure

Autoimmune diseases: In this unusual case, your immune system creates antibodies against your ovarian tissue and causes damage to the egg-containing follicles and the egg. It is unclear what causes the immunological response, but exposure to a virus is a possibility