Premature ovarian failure occurs when women suffer a deterioration in ovarian function at an age prior to 40 years.
There are two types of early ovarian failure:
- The clinical form (also known as early ovarian failure) will have irregular periods, high blood FSH levels and reduced fertility. Early ovarian failure may be due to genetic causes, such as Turner's Syndrome or Fragile X syndrome, previous surgery on the ovary, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, autoimmune diseases, or unknown causes (up to 90% of cases)
- Occult ovarian failure (OOF) can have regular rules despite high FSH levels. This is determined by a decrease in the ovarian reserve which is still being compensated for, but which in most cases is associated with a decrease in fertility. TheOOF can be maintained a few years before menopause arrives (approximately 3-4 years). This alteration occurs in one out of every 250 women under 35 and in one out of every 100 at 40.
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