Pediatric and Adolescent Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)

Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is a rare condition where young girls and teenagers prematurely reach menopause.

What is Pediatric and Adolescent Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)?

Menopause is typically the natural decline of reproductive hormones that impacts women around age 50. Young girls with POI will have irregular and then absent menstrual cycles for four months or more. For some girls, the periods never start.

It can affect emotional and physical health and a girl’s overall well-being. POI causes low estrogen (primary female sex hormone) levels, which can lead to osteoporosis (affects the bones and increases chances of fractures) and heart disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric and Adolescent Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)?

Symptoms of POI can include:

What are the causes of Pediatric and Adolescent Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)?

The exact cause of most cases of POI is unknown. However, it can often occur as a result of a known condition.

Risk Factors

  • Celiac disease – Nutrient deficiencies and lower levels of key hormones can trigger POI
  • Chemotherapy or radiation – These treatments can damage the ovaries, leading to POI.
  • Environmental conditions – Triggers like cigarette smoke, pesticides and viruses related to autoimmune diseases have been linked to, but not shown to directly cause, POI.
  • Family history – Girls with family members who have the disease are more likely to have POI, but they are not guaranteed to get it.
  • Fanconi anemia – This rare disease is inherited (passed down through generations) and is the most common form of aplastic anemia.
  • Fragile X syndrome – This inherited (passed down through generations) disease causes intellectual and developmental disabilities in both boys and girls.
  • Galactosemia – This disorder affects how the body processes galactose (a simple sugar).
  • Turner syndrome – A rare condition caused by the complete or partial absence of one of the two X chromosomes.
  • Thyroid disease – This includes too high (hyperthyroidism) or too low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism) that can lead to an imbalance of hormones and POI.

Pediatric and Adolescent Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) Doctors and Providers