HealthSheets™


Treatment for Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)

Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is when the ovaries stop working normally before the age of 40. An ovary does not release an egg each month as it should. This can cause symptoms and make it hard to get pregnant.

Types of treatment

POI can be treated in different ways. Most women with POI need hormone treatment with estrogen. This can help reduce bone loss and other symptoms, such as vaginal dryness. You may also be given progesterone. This is for women who have not had surgery to remove their uterus (hysterectomy). You may use progesterone until you reach age 50. This is the natural age for menopause.

In some women, treatment of another health condition may help treat POI. For example, treatment of thyroid disease or an eating disorder may reduce symptoms of POI.

Pregnancy rates for women with POI are low. If you have POI and still want to get pregnant, your doctor may advise:

  • Medicines to promote egg release, such as clomiphene

  • Using a donor egg instead of your own egg

  • Estrogen therapy

A small number of women with POI can get pregnant naturally. Talk with your doctor about birth control if you want to prevent pregnancy.

Living with POI

Some women are upset to learn that they have POI, especially if they still want children. This can lead to depression and anxiety. Talking with a mental healthcare provider may help.

POI can also lead to thin, weak bones (osteoporosis). Osteoporosis can increase your chances of a broken bone. Your doctor may give you advice to help keep your bones healthy. This may include:

  • Taking extra calcium and vitamin D

  • Quitting smoking

  • Exercising more

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