How Your Hormone Levels Change Throughout Your Cycle
Day one is the day your period starts. At this point, your female hormone levels are low. An egg begins to develop in one of your ovaries and gradually produces the hormone oestrogen.
Around days 10 â 16, your oestrogen levels are at their highest. A rise in the hormones LH and FSH cause the egg to be released from your ovary. The egg implants itself in your womb and your body begins to produce the hormone progesterone and a smaller amount of oestrogen.
How To Understand Menopause Blood Test Results
As explained above, test results can be confusing to interpret, but the cut off points for FSH levels are relatively straightforward. A general guide is that a blood FSH level of > 30 IU/L suggests that the ovaries are slowing down, and can be taken as a potential indicator of menopause.
Can a blood test check what stage of menopause you have reached?
The simple answer is, not necessarily. However, a general rule is that FSH levels may be either normal or raised in perimenopause but will be raised at the postmenopausal stage.
Is There More Blood Work To Check Your Hormones
When I first began studying neuro-immune-endocrinology, I played around with lots of different laboratory tests to try to determine what would confirm or deny what I was seeing in my patients. I did 24-hour urine tests, salivary tests, and blood tests. Urine reveals hormone metabolites, while saliva can indicate hormones at the tissue level. Blood reveals what hormones are available in the body. None of these tests truly tell us exactly whats going on with your hormones, which is why its more important to assess the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance, and use the lab tests to confirm.
I know this is a lot of complicated information, which is why you should sign up for my free Hormone Reboot Training. Here youll get exclusive access to the same education I give to my patients I help them interpret their results.
Hope to see you there!
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Understanding Your Menopause Blood Test Results
Your hormones fluctuate a lot, especially leading up to menopause. So it’s often recommended that you do a second test, 4-6 weeks later, if your first FSH level is raised to build a more accurate picture. If your FSH levels are raised in both instances, then it can suggest that youre menopausal.
Heres a brief overview of what your results might show.
Thyroid hormonesIf your thyroid hormones are out of range it can cause symptoms like irregular periods, weight changes, tiredness, anxiety, and restlessness similar to menopausal symptoms. So its a good idea to rule out a thyroid disorder when doing a menopause test.
FSHIn most cases, your FSH levels are the strongest indicator that youre perimenopausal or menopausal especially if its combined with missing periods.
OestrogenYour oestrogen levels drop as you reach menopause which is largely responsible for a lot of symptoms associated with menopause.
If your results show low oestrogen levels this can mean that youre perimenopausal or menopausal.
Luteinising hormone Your LH levels increase as you reach menopause. Raised LH levels, combined with your other hormone levels, can indicate that youre perimenopausal or menopausal.
Testing For Health Conditions Associated With Menopause
Cardiovascular risk increases after menopause due to the changes that have occurred. Your doctor may suggest checking your cardiovascular risk with a range of tests that includes a lipid profile.
Type 2 diabetes
There is increased risk of thinning and weakening of the bones that can result in bone loss associated with the decrease in the production of oestradiol. Your doctor may suggest testing for relevant minerals and Vitamin D. If osteoporosis is due to another health condition, further tests may be required.
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When Are Menopause Hormone Blood Tests Recommended
Generally, checking blood hormone levels is neither necessary nor helpful for women aged 45 or older. This is because:
Under the age of 45, though the same problems of hormone levels potentially being normal during perimenopause still apply, blood hormone levels are worth checking as experiencing menopause at this age is classed as early and is managed slightly differently. Hormonal checks must be carried out if you are under 40 and experiencing period changes or symptoms suggestive of menopause. This is because medical professionals need them to detect a condition called premature ovarian insufficiency , or premature menopause, and thus be able to provide you with the correct care.
Selected Sources & Further Reading
Farhi, J., Homburg, R., Ferber, A. Non-response to ovarian stimulation A clinical sign of impending onset of ovarian failure pre-empting the rise in basal follicle stimulating hormone levels.Human Reproduction 1997 12 241-243.
Okeke et al. Premature Menopause.Ann Med Health Sci2013.
Gold, E. The Timing of the Age at Which Natural Menopause Occurs.Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2011.
Letsgetchecked Female Hormone Test
A subscription may be appealing if youre interested in regularly monitoring your hormone levels over time. With LetsGetChecked, you can also save money by signing up for their trimonthly shipments.
After registering your testing kit, youll need to collect a finger-prick blood sample on the third day of your menstrual cycle before 10 a.m. Additionally, you cant take the test if youre using hormonal birth control. After collecting your sample, you have to mail it the same day using the prepaid envelope.
Within 2 to 5 days, you can view your results from your secure online account. A dedicated team of nurses is also available around the clock to discuss them with you.
How To Confidently Read Menopause Blood Test Results
Curious about menopause blood test protocols? We can help.
There is one thing that is constant in life, and that is change. One of the biggest changes in a womans life is when she begins to go through menopause. Not only will she experience physical changes but mental changes, as well. How do you know if the symptoms you are feeling are the start of menopause, though?
There are many tests available to do just that. One of these is a blood test. Like every other test, if you do not have a degree in medicine, understanding and reading the results may be a little difficult. This could lead to some severe anxiety and stress.
In order to keep your anxiety low, we are going to look at what a menopause blood test is, when you should get one, and how to understand it when you do. First, though, we have to understand the symptoms to look for.
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What Age Does Perimenopause Usually Start
Perimenopause typically begins in the mid to late 40s. If you menstruate, youll likely experience menopause between ages 40 and 58, according to NAMS. But some people go through early menopause before this time. Usually, the transitional phase of perimenopause begins around 4 to 8 years before this.
The menstrual cycle becomes variable during perimenopause. And eventually, it stops completely. Youve transitioned through menopause following 12 months with no menstrual periods.
Mylab Box Perimenopause Test
One of the disadvantages of at-home testing is the lack of medical support. However, with myLAB Box, this is not an issue. Should your results suggest that youre in perimenopause, myLAB Box includes a free consultation with a doctor to discuss the results.
The test looks at FSH, estradiol, and progesterone levels, and youll need to provide a blood and saliva sample.
The company uses CLIA certified labs, so youre assured of accurate results and quality service. MyLAB Box is also listed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
After ordering and receiving your kit, youll have to collect both samples and mail it in with the prepaid shipping label. Youll receive results online in 1 to 5 days.
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What Is Fsh And Why Is It Important
Follicle stimulating hormone does exactly what it says it stimulates the ovaries to produce follicles each cycle.
The start of your period marks the beginning of the next cycle. This signals to your brain that its time to prepare a new egg for ovulation. To do this, it sends FSH to your ovaries.
Think of FSH like the fuel your ovaries need to grow follicles, like how a car needs gas to run. FSH gives your ovaries the energy they need to start growing follicles and maturing eggs. Eventually, one follicle and egg will become the most mature this is the egg that will ovulate that cycle.
At this point, you may know that people with ovaries are born with all the eggs theyll ever have this is referred to as your ovarian reserve. As you age and cycle over and over again, the amount of eggs you have slowly decreases over time.
When the ovaries have lots of eggs left, they dont need as much FSH to help recruit follicles because they have so many options to choose from. However, as you age and ovulate each cycle, you have less and less eggs to choose from.
With less eggs to recruit and mature, the ovaries need a little extra help to prepare for ovulation. So, the brain sends more FSH to the ovary. This is why low FSH levels signal a high ovarian reserve and high FSH levels signal a low ovarian reserve.
How To Seek Help
“It’s a good idea to see if there’s a GP at your practice who specialises in menopause and HRT,” advises Briggs. “And if you feel you need extra support ask to be referred to your local menopause clinic or a specialist consultant.”
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provides guidelines on when blood tests are necessary in menopause.
“I would not recommend accessing any blood tests without consulting a doctor,” adds Unsworth. “However, not all doctors may be confident in interpreting these types of hormone results, so I would recommend seeking out a doctor with an interest in menopause to ensure you are given the correct answers and treatment.”
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Nice Guidance On Menopause
In November 2015, NICE Guideline 23 on Menopause: diagnosis and management was published, providing recommendations for healthcare professionals who care for women in menopause.1 NICE NG23 also includes a section with information for the public, which provides women with information about what to expect from a healthcare professional if they have menopausal symptoms.
NICE Quality Standard 143,4 published in February 2017, distils the key points from NICE NG23 into measurable statements that can be used to assess the quality of care provided and quantify potential improvements to clinical practice. The five quality statements that make up NICE QS143 are listed in Table 1 and discussed in detail below.
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I came to see Dr. Inna because I was in the worst physical shape of my life, morbidly obese, weighing 280 lb. I felt tired, unhappy, lacked energy, and struggled with shortness of breath and persistent psoriasis outbreaks. My multiple previous weight loss projects failed, so I was quite skeptical. But this time it was different because of the whole program and mentoring I have received from Dr. Inna. I now have knowledge and tools to maintain these results for life. I have lost 89 pounds, I am no longer obese, and feel fantastic. I havent had a flare of psoriasis since I started the program. My blood pressure is under control. I have my energy back. My family and coworkers noticed a dramatic difference. My daughter and I enjoy our time together, she means the world to me. I want to be there for her for a long time. And I know I will be a super Granddad to my grandkids one day, because I will be physically capable. Dr. Inna literally guided me to re-create MY health, for which I am forever grateful. I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone who wants to live a long and healthy life.
Testing + Symptoms = Diagnosis
Both lab tests and symptom charting are not necessarily 100% accurate.
This time is a period of great fluctuation, both in terms of your symptoms and in terms of your lab tests and hormones.
Your hormones and prohormones may fluctuate wildly during this time which means that checking just one time may not necessarily be accurate.
As a woman is going through the menopause transition it’s not uncommon for her body to attempt to menstruate.
This attempted menstruation may cause small to large rises in hormone levels which may alter your symptoms.
Because of this, you don’t want to rely heavily on one form of diagnostic tool over another.
Instead, it’s best to combine both your symptoms and use them in conjunction with your lab tests .
This is especially important if you are suffering from early menopause.
Women who suffer from early menopause may be pushed aside as having depression as opposed to true ovarian failure/menopause.
The good news is that it is easily testable and that you can be sure what is happening in your body with a couple of lab tests.
During menopause, we know that your estradiol levels and progesterone levels WILL fall dramatically.
When in doubt, make sure to ask your doctor for the lab tests listed above as they may help to explain what is happening in your body.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause
Hormonal changes can cause physical and psychological symptoms before and during menopause. Symptoms may occur for a few weeks, a few months, several years, or not at all. The symptoms may come and go, or they may occur regularly.These physical signs and symptoms are common during menopause:
- irregular or no menstrual periods
- changes in your sleep patterns
- vaginal dryness, sometimes causing discomfort or pain during sex
- grayish vaginal discharge with a bad odor
- more frequent need to urinate, or leakage of urine
- more frequent minor vaginal and urinary infections
- loss of desire to have sex
Menopause usually occurs at a time in your life when other dramatic changes take place. Some of these changes may include loss of parents, adjustment to children growing up and leaving home, becoming a grandparent, retirement, or career changes. These changes, in addition to the changes in your body, may result in psychological or emotional stress. Psychological symptoms of menopause may include:
How To Test For Menopause
When it comes to a menopause test, sometimes you can have a blood test to measure the level of certain hormones but it depends on a few factors, such as age and the medication you are taking.
Women under 45 with menopausal symptoms can have a blood test measuring their follicle stimulating hormone . While this can be useful even this can be quite inaccurate, especially if youre taking medication such as the combined contraceptive pill or progesterone-only pill.
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Box : Potential Improvements Following Implementation Of A Local Menopause Specialist Service
Implementation of a local menopause specialist service could lead to improvements in:
- diagnosis of perimenopause and menopause through
- a reduction in FSH testing for diagnosis of menopause in women over 45 years
- use of electronic prompts for FSH laboratory requests
- liaison with local pathology optimisation groups
FSH=follicle-stimulating hormone POI=premature ovarian insufficiency HRT=hormone replacement therapy
What Is A Follicle
This test measures the level of follicle-stimulating hormone in your blood. FSH is made by your pituitary gland, a small gland located underneath the brain. FSH plays an important role in sexual development and functioning.
- In women, FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and stimulates the growth of eggs in the ovaries. FSH levels in women change throughout the menstrual cycle, with the highest levels happening just before an egg is released by the ovary. This is known as ovulation.
- In men, FSH helps control the production of sperm. Normally, FSH levels in men do not change very much.
- In children, FSH levels are usually low until puberty, when levels begin to rise. In girls, it helps signal the ovaries to make estrogen. In boys, it helps signal the testes to make testosterone.
Too much or too little FSH can cause a variety of problems, including infertility , menstrual difficulties in women, low sex drive in men, and early or delayed puberty in children.
Other names: follitropin, FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone: serum
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