Objective: To evaluate the effect of premature ovarian failure on bone mineral density.
Materials and methods: Forty-five women with karyotypically normal spontaneous premature ovarian failure underwent hip and spinal bone density measurements by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Findings were compared with a control group of 61 women of similar age.
Results: The median (range) age of the women with premature ovarian failure was 33 (18-39) years. The median (range) time since diagnosis of premature ovarian failure was 2 years (0.5-7). Forty-one of the women (91%) had sought medical advice previously and had taken a variety of estrogen and progestin replacement regimens at least intermittently. Both the femoral neck bone mineral density measurements and the spinal bone mineral density measurements were significantly lower than measurements of the control group (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Our study shows that premature ovarian failure has significantly lower levels of bone mineral density than the control group of normal women. We suggest that hormone replacement therapy should be substituted early and consistently in affected patients. Our data also raise questions about whether preservation of bone mass in these patients will require replacement of additional gonadal steroids.