Health In Focus
Highlights:
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) occurs when the ovaries stop functioning, leading to menopause before the age of 40 years
  • Women with premature ovarian insufficiency show higher incidence and severity of psychological and sexual menopause symptoms
  • Healthcare providers should be more aware of these symptoms and work with patients to identify treatment options

Common menopause symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, and vaginal dryness. According to a new study, such symptoms specifically psychological and sexual problems are worse in women who have premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) than those undergoing natural menopause.
Severe Menopause Symptoms Seen in Premature Ovarian Insufficiency

The study is published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

What Is Premature Ovarian Insufficiency?

Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) also called primary ovarian insufficiency or premature ovarian failure (POF) occurs when the ovaries stop functioning leading to menopause before 40 years. This condition increases the risk for long-term co-morbid conditions like cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, and cognitive impairment. This can also decreaselife expectancy.


In the general population, the incidence of premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) is one percent.The POI symptoms include amenorrhea (absence of menses), estrogen deficiency, and elevated serum gonadotropin levels.

Earlier research has mainly focused on the various risk factors associated with POI; however, few studies have examined the effect of POI relative to the prevalence, severity, and factors affecting menopause symptoms.

Link Between POI And Menopause

A new study was conducted involving 300 Chinese women that specifically analyzed menopause symptoms in women with POI and compared them with the severity and prevalence of similar symptoms in women who experienced natural menopause.

It was found that women with POI showed a higher prevalence of menopause symptoms, specifically those related to psychological and sexual symptoms. These symptoms were more severe than those experienced by women who undergo natural menopause.

Symptoms that showed higher severity include mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, hot flashes, and sexual dysfunction like decreased libido, vaginal dryness, and dyspareunia (pain in the genital area).

According to these results, the researchers have suggested that the healthcare providers should be more aware of the psychological complications and sexual dysfunction risks in women with POI and work with them to identify appropriate treatment options.

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director said, "This study of Chinese women showed that those with POI had more prevalent menopause-related symptoms than women with menopause at the average age. It is important to note that regardless of the prevalence or severity of symptoms, women with POI should receive hormone therapy at least until the average age of menopause unless there are contraindications to its use in order to mitigate potential long-term adverse health effects, including fractures, heart disease, cognitive impairment, and early mortality - in addition to mood disturbances and sexual dysfunction."

Staying Healthy at Menopause and Beyond

Staying healthy and eating right can help ease the menopause transition.
References :
  1. Menopausal symptoms in women with premature ovarian insufficiency prevalence, severity, and associated factors: Huang et al: Menopause: doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001733
  2. Staying Healthy After Menopause - (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/staying-healthy-after-menopause)
  3. Eating Right During Menopause - (https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/eating-right-during-menopause)


Source: Medindia

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