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Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI): Overview

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Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is the term used to describe when a woman’s ovaries stop working normally before she reaches the age of 40. POI is not the same as early or premature menopause. Many women with POI do not get monthly menstrual periods, or they have them irregularly. Problems with ovulation may make it difficult for women with POI to get pregnant. In addition, women with POI are at higher risk for certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis, than are women who do not have POI.

The NICHD studies a range of issues related to POI, including possible causes of and mechanisms involved with POI, conditions associated with POI, and treatments and support for the physical and emotional health of women and families affected by POI.

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Common Name

  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)

Medical or Scientific Names

  • Primary ovarian insufficiency
  • Premature menopause
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Ovarian hypofunction
  • Hypergonadotropic hypogonadism
  • Fragile X-Associated POI (FXPOI), used to describe POI related to a specific genetic change
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