Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) is the medical term used to describe early menopause. Menopause usually occurs in women between the ages of 42 and 56. Premature ovarian failure (early menopause) is a condition in which menopause occurs before the age of 40. Women who develop early menopause usually have run out of eggs in their ovaries.
The cause of POF is generally unknown. However, there are a few reasons why the ovaries may stop producing eggs at an early age. Exposure to certain chemicals or medical treatments can damage or destroy the ovaries.
These may include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis are sometimes associated with early menopause because the immune system forms antibodies that attack and damage the ovaries. Heredity can also play a role — some genetic disorders lead to early menopause.