Menopause – Diagnosis

How can you tell if you are going through menopause? It can be a difficult thing to determine as all women are different. If you begin to notice changes in your body, your menstrual cycle, or start to experience commonly described perimenopause symptoms, then it is time to see your GP to discuss the possibilities. So, how can menopause be diagnosed?

Physical exam

Before you visit your doctor, track any symptoms you’re experiencing, how often they occur, and how severe they are. Note when you had your last period and report any irregularities in timing that might have occurred. Make a list of medications and supplements you’re currently taking.

Your doctor will ask you about the date of your last period as well as how often you experience symptoms. Don’t be afraid to discuss all of your symptoms, which may include hot flashes, spotting, mood swings, trouble sleeping, or sexual problems.

Your healthcare provider can swab your vagina to test its pH levels, which can also help confirm menopause. Vaginal pH is about 4.5 during your reproductive years. During menopause, vaginal pH rises to a balance of 6.

If you’re having menopausal symptoms, your doctor may order tests to rule out other conditions, such as ovarian failure or a thyroid condition. These tests may include:

  • a blood test to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen
  • a thyroid function test
  • a lipid profile
  • tests for liver and kidney function

Hormone tests

Your doctor may order a blood test to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)and estrogen. During menopause, your FSH levels increase and your estrogen levels decrease.

During the first half of your menstrual cycle, FSH, a hormone released by the anterior pituitary gland, stimulates maturation of eggs as well as the production of a hormone called estradiol.

Estradiol is a form of estrogen that is responsible for (among other things) regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting the female reproductive tract.

In addition to confirming menopause, this blood test can detect signs of certain pituitary disorders.

Your doctor may order an additional blood test to check your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), as hypothyroidism can cause symptoms that are similar to menopause.

A recently approved diagnostic test called the PicoAMH Elisa testTrusted Source measures the amount of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) in the blood. It can help your doctor determine when you will enter menopause if you haven’t already.

Following diagnosis

Once menopause has been confirmed, your doctor will discuss treatment options. You may not need any treatment if your symptoms aren’t severe.

Your doctor may recommend certain medications and hormone therapies to deal with symptoms that can affect your quality of life. They may also recommend hormone treatments if you are younger when you reach menopause.

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