The term premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) describes a continuum of declining ovarian function in a young woman, resulting in an earlier than average menopause.
It is a term that reflects the variable nature of the condition and is substantially less emotive than the formerly used "premature ovarian failure" which signaled a single event in time.
Contrary to the decline in the age of menarche seen over the last 3-4 decades there has been no similar change in the age of menopause.
In developed nations, the average age for cessation of menstrual cycles is 50-52 years. The age is younger among women from developing nations.
Much has been written about POI despite a lack of good data on the incidence of this condition. It is believed that 1% of women under the age of 40 years and 0.1% under the age of 30 years will develop POI.
Research is increasingly providing information about the pathogenesis and treatments are being developed to better preserve ovarian function during cancer treatment and to improve fertility options.
This narrative review summarizes the current literature to provide an approach to best practice management of POI.
Fenton AJ. Premature ovarian insufficiency: Pathogenesis and management. J Mid-life Health 2015;6:147-53