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From http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/435929?srcmp=endo-060702

Young Women Often Overlook Signs of Ovarian Failure

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Jun 03 - Young women with spontaneous premature ovarian failure often overlook the menstrual signs that could be a clue to the diagnosis, according to a recent report.

Approximately 1% of US women experience ovarian failure by 40 years of age, according to a statement from the National Institutes of Health. Premature ovarian failure is a well-established risk factor for osteoporosis. By ignoring menstrual signs, the diagnosis of premature ovarian failure is delayed, as is the initiation of treatments to prevent osteoporosis.


"Because missed periods are common symptoms in young women, it is understandable that more than half of our patients were not concerned at first," lead investigator Dr. Lawrence Nelson, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a statement.


"But the delay in evaluating and treating ovarian insufficiency may place young women at increased risk of developing osteoporosis in later years," he explained.


To better characterize the disease, Dr. Nelson's team interviewed 48 women who had been diagnosed with spontaneous premature ovarian failure. The mean age of the study group was 33.5 years.


The most common presenting symptom was a disturbance in menstrual cycle, reported by 44 of the women, the researchers note in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.


More than half of the women interviewed said they did not view missing their period as an important health issue and that they did not fully appreciate that the ovary is an important source of hormones. Forty-six percent said they felt their knowledge of menstrual health was lacking, the report indicates.


More than half of the women with menstrual irregularities reported having seen three or more different physicians before being diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, and one in four of the woman said it took longer than 5 years for them to be diagnosed with the condition, the authors note.


"These findings suggest that women and their physicians may want to err on the side of caution and evaluate menstrual irregularities early," Dr. Duane Alexander, director of the NICHD, said in a statement.

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