Many cases are idiopathic. Follicles are removed from the ovaries more rapidly than normal but the reason for this is unknown. In some, a familial tendency to 'early' menopause may be apparent.
Premature ovarian failure may be associated with autoimmune disorders for example Schmidt's syndrome.
The "resistant ovarian syndrome" is applied to those women in whom primary ovarian failure is associated with temporary dysfunction of ovarian gonadotrophin receptors.
Ovarian failure may also result from infection, for example, mumps; or be iatrogenic - following radiotherapy, surgery, or cytotoxic drugs such as cyclophosphamide, busulphan, and chlorambucil.
Last reviewed 01/2018