A woman’s reproductive system is a wonderfully complex system involving continuous communication between the brain and the ovary. The hypothalamus, pituitary, and ovary are the messengers that regulate the monthly cycle. Given the first sign of ovarian hormone complex is usually the loss of regular menstrual periods, it‘s important to track your cycle‘s regularity.
Women who have POI are deficient in estradiol, a critical hormone typically present in a young woman‘s blood. Evidence has shown the onset of estradiol deficiency early in life is associated with a shorter life expectancy — among other health concerns — which makes education, early diagnosis, and treatment of POI critically important.
To determine if a woman has POI, her clinician will test her blood for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH will be higher than normal in women whose follicles are no longer working to produce normal levels of estradiol in the blood. This simple blood test will often be the only test needed to determine if a woman has POI.
You could have ovarian hormone complex if:
- your menstrual cycles are erratic and unpredictable
- your menstrual periods are less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart
- you have bleeding or spotting between cycles
- you skip periods (sometimes for months at a time)
- you have had any of these symptoms in the past and were prescribed birth control pills with no testing to determine the cause of the abnormality
If any of these statements are true, it‘s critical to ask your health care provider two questions:
- What is my FSH?
- What is my prolactin?
Once you have these answers, you can move forward empowered to take control of your menstrual health.