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Primary Ovarian Insufficiency and Depression

By HERWriter
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Women can have some pretty unique health issues to deal with – it comes with the territory. Several of these revolve around what most women dread: the menstrual cycle.

Although most women have heard of PMS, menopause and even PMDD, there’s one unusual condition that some young women may suffer from: primary ovarian insufficiency or premature ovarian failure.

This condition is where the ovaries fail to work properly and results in a menopause-like condition before the age of menopause. It can happen in teens and young women up to women in their 40s, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Around 250,000 U.S. women under 40 have POI, and chances increase the older women get. For example, one in 10,000 women have POI by 20, whereas one in 250 women have POI by 35.

Although some confuse the condition with early menopause, it’s not. Women with POI can still have periods, although irregular, and can still be fertile, though infertility is a symptom. Other symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, decreased sex interest and vaginal drying.

There seems to be no cure at the moment, but hormone replacement therapy can alleviate some symptoms of POI.

A new study from the National Institutes of Health has unearthed another possible symptom of POI: depression. Researchers found that young women with POI “are much more likely than other women to experience depression at some point during their lives,” according to a press release. There is also a call to screen all women diagnosed with POI for depression.

A majority of the women in the study had depression – “67 percent either were currently clinically depressed or had been depressed at least one time in their lives,” according to the press release.

It is uncertain why women with POI have a higher rate than the general population, but it’s interesting to note that women with menopause commonly experience depression and estrogen supplements can relieve some of those symptoms.

Some guesses are that depression could lead to POI, or POI could cause a biological change that then causes depression.

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EmpowHER Guest

I am a 26 year old female and i have been diagnosed with POI when i was 15 or 16. This is a great article.

January 5, 2011 - 12:51pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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