What is POF?

Premature ovarian failure (POF) is the loss of ovarian function in women before the age of 40.

Women are generally born with enough eggs in their ovaries so that they ovulate one each month from puberty until about the age of 50. At that time, the supply of eggs is used up and menopause occurs. But, in girls and young women with POF, something has happened to the supply of eggs in the ovaries at a young age. It could be a loss of eggs, a dysfunction of eggs or the removal of the ovaries at a young age. This loss of ovarian function occurs at too young an age to be considered a natural menopause.

Hormonally, POF is defined by abnormally low levels of estrogen and high levels of FSH (> 40 IU/L), which demonstrate that the ovaries are no longer responding to circulating FSH by producing estrogen and developing fertile eggs.

POF vs Menopause

Though used to be called premature menopause, POF is actually much different than menopause.

  • In menopause, a woman will likely never have another menstrual period again; women with POF are much more likely to get periods, even if they come irregularly.
  •  A woman in menopause has virtually no chance of getting pregnant; a woman with POF has a greatly reduced chance of getting pregnant, but pregnancy is still possible.

Symptoms of POF

Commonly seen symptoms:

  • Skipping or having irregular periods.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Irritability, poor concentration
  • Decreased interest in sex or pain during sex
  • Drying of the vagina
  • Infertility

Due to the lack of estrogen, POF can also put women at risk of other health problems, such as such as osteoporosis, low thyroid function, heart disease, diabetes as well as adrenal problems (Addison’s disease).

POF and TCM

Although laboratory test helps to diagnose POF, Traditional Chinese Medicine has its own way to make a reasonable differentiation and a tailored prescription. In our practice, we find that better result will be achieved if both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are administered at the same time.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help:

  • To improve blood flow to the ovaries
  • To lower FSH
  • To reestablish normal FSH and LH regulation
  • To restore the body’s natural balance and optimize reproductive health
Premature Ovarian Failure