Background: Premature ovarian failure (POF) in adolescents is defined as primary or secondary amenorrhea associated with high follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. In normal 46,XX patients, its etiology is most often unknown. We have evaluated the clinical, hormonal and ovarian phenotypes in patients with a normal karyotype who were diagnosed with POF before the age of 18. Methods: Sixty-three patients were included in this retrospective study. Results: The mean patient age was 20.4 years. The patients presented with three clinical patterns: lack of pubertal development (n = 23), primary amenorrhea with interrupted puberty (n = 18), and secondary amenorrhea with normal puberty (n = 22). Ten patients had a familial history of POF and 6 presented with hypothyroidism. The FSH, estradiol and inhibin B levels were not statistically different in the three clinical groups. Fifty percent of the patients presented small ovaries (length <2 cm) at ultrasonography. The presence of follicles was found at histology in only 7 of the 27 patients who underwent an ovarian biopsy. Conclusion: 46,XX patients presenting with early POF rarely presented a specific, identifiable disorder. We discuss the clinical management and different diagnosis strategies to improve our current knowledge of this syndrome.