How To Interpret The Results
A positive test result indicates that you may be in a stage of menopause. But do not assume too much: If you’re using a contraceptive, continue using it. The test results are not foolproof, and you could become pregnant without birth control.
If you have a negative test result but you’re also experiencing menopausal symptoms, you may be in perimenopause or even menopause after all. But a negative reading does not mean you have not reached menopause, either other factors could be contributing to the negative result. This is where a healthcare provider can be particularly helpful in sorting through all the pieces to this puzzle and fitting them together properly.
Similarly, do not use the test results to gauge your fertility or ability to become pregnant. These tests will not give you a reliable answer.
What Will Happen To My Periods During Perimenopause
A common feature of perimenopause is irregular periods. Your periods may come less often, or sometimes even more often. They may be longer or shorter than usual for you and your bleeding may be lighter or heavier than usual. Some months you might not get a period. It can change from month to month.
Even though changes in your periods are normal in perimenopause, you should see your doctor if:
- your bleeding is very heavy or continues for a long time
- you experience bleeding after not having your period for a year
Your Female Hormone Test List: The Results Are In
Theres likely no best method when it comes to evaluating your hormone levels. Dried blood-spot and dried urine testing are likely the preferred methods when you want multiple measurements of your hormone levels, such as in cycle mapping. This can be useful in evaluating menstrual abnormalities and non-specific symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.
These are also the preferred methods for women on hormone-replacement therapy, as they can measure hormone metabolites. However, these tests can be expensive and time-consuming, and arent necessarily indicated in all situations.
If youre looking for a quick, inexpensive, and accurate way to diagnose an endocrine or reproductive disorder, serum blood testing is likely a safe bet. Furthermore, certain methods like saliva testing arent suitable for young women, but can be very helpful in diagnosing infertility.
In short, there is no one size fits all option when it comes to hormone testing, and its best to speak with your healthcare provider about which method is best for you. If youre considering hormone testing, and would like assistance in addressing the root cause of your chronic health symptoms, reach out to our functional medicine clinic today.
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How Can A Menopause Blood Test Help Me Decide About Contraception
It can be surprisingly tricky to decide whether you have been through the menopause.
Periods often give you the biggest clue, but this is not always reliable. Many types of contraception cause your periods to become less frequent or even to stop. This is common with the:
- Progesterone-only pill
- Intrauterine system
- Contraceptive injection
If you are aged 50, on a contraceptive and having no periods, it can be tricky to decide whether you need to continue taking contraception or are postmenopausal and can safely stop.
In these circumstances, a hormone blood test for FSH is recommended. If the level is in the premenopausal range , you are not yet menopausal and need to continue your contraception.
An FSH level above 30 can mean that you have gone through menopause but just one test is not enough. As hormones can fluctuate, you need two raised FSH levels 4-6 weeks apart to confirm menopause.
How Can I Balance Back My Hormones
If you have been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, your doctor can advise you on ways of bringing your body back into proper balance. Typical treatments for improved hormonal balance include hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, stress management and exercise. In the case of thyroid dysfunction, medications and/or surgical intervention may be necessary to restore health levels of thyroid hormones.
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Types Of Perimenopause Tests
Because each woman experiences perimenopause symptoms differently, doctors will take many factors into consideration when determining if a woman has entered perimenopause, including perimenopause test results, menopause symptoms, age, and menstrual history, among others.
The following hormones can be checked via saliva, urine, or blood tests to determine perimenopause. Speak with your healthcare professional about which would be best for you.
Skipping Periods During Perimenopause
Each woman is different when it comes to symptoms, including changes in menstruation. Often times, especially in the perimenopause period, the ovary can be secreting too much testosterone. In this zone of life, patients ovaries are either screaming or whispering hormones. Sometimes your ovary will struggle and hormone production will be low, or it will thrive and the hormones will look high. This is why some months your symptoms may seem severe and some months you are just fine.
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Can Your Hormones Make You Feel Sick
Yes. Everyone feels sick every now and then, but hormone imbalances can make you feel sick frequently. If you experience symptoms that may be caused by a hormone problem, seek medical assistance.
You can learn more about other topics on health, wellness, and sexual and reproductive health at STDWatch.comnow.
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When To See A Doctor For Perimenopause
Some women experience very few symptoms during perimenopause. While you should still see your doctor for regular physical checkups, it may not be necessary to seek specific care for perimenopause unless the symptoms cause significant discomfort.
If you begin noticing these symptoms before the age of 40, or if they are disrupting your daily life, you should also contact your doctor to see what options you have to ease your symptoms.
If you notice abnormal reproductive or menstrual symptoms like the following, see a doctor, since they might indicate a more serious condition:
- Having periods that repeatedly occur fewer than three weeks apart
- Experiencing menstrual bleeding for more than seven days at a time
- Swelling or discomfort in your abdomen coupled with missed periods
- Frequent bleeding in between periods
- Excessive menstrual bleeding
Perimenopause lasts several years and may bring on new health concerns. You and your doctor can discuss strategies for managing perimenopause.
Dignity Health cares for women from adolescence through perimenopause and beyond. Were here for you.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.
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Cardiovascular Issues And Menopause
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in men and postmenopausal women. Menopause increases the risk for women still further, independent of age. Before menopause, the risk of CAD for women lags behind the risk for men by approximately 10 years after menopause, it catches up. As a result, mortality from CAD is increasing in women. The Framingham study was pivotal in showing the relation between menopause and increased cardiovascular mortality.
The Womens Health Initiative was a randomized, controlled trial that addressed the issue of whether postmenopausal women should take hormone therapy or estrogen therapy for prevention of CAD more than 27,000 healthy women participated in the trial. The investigators concluded that hormone therapy and estrogen therapy are not indicated for the prevention of CAD.
Emerging analyses of WHI data from the Estrogen-Alone Triala double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial evaluating the effects of conjugated equine estrogens on chronic disease incidence among postmenopausal women with prior hysterectomy and after a mean of 7.1 years of follow-upsuggested that treatment effects differ by age. Compared with older women, younger women receiving CEE had a lower risk of CAD.
What Is Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy can help relieve some symptoms of perimenopause. In general, healthcare providers recommend that people who opt to use hormone therapy start it within 10 years of beginning menopause symptoms and use it for less than five years. Estrogen and hormones have been linked to an increased risk of heart problems and some types of breast cancer.
Speak with your healthcare provider to make sure you understand the risks and benefits of hormone therapy as a treatment for perimenopause.
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The Role Of Menopause Tests
Menopause testing is used to determine if a patients symptoms are part of menopause or related to another condition. Symptoms related to menopause include:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Vaginal dryness, irritation, or discharge
- Trouble concentrating
In evaluating the cause of these symptoms, a doctor may ask about a patients age, symptoms, and family history. In around 75% of women, symptoms of perimenopause begin during the expected age range and doctors can diagnose menopause without laboratory testing. Menopause is confirmed after a woman has had no menstrual period for 12 months.
However, menopause testing is often ordered when the cause of symptoms is not clear. For example, menopause testing may be used for women who have had a hysterectomy, women who begin to have symptoms of menopause several years before age 50, or when a woman experiences abnormal symptoms suggestive of menopause.
What The Quality Statement Means For Different Audiences
Service providers ensure that systems are in place for women over 45 years to be diagnosed with perimenopause or menopause based on their menopausal symptoms alone, without confirmatory laboratory tests.
Healthcare professionals do not use laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis of perimenopause or menopause in women over 45 years, but base the diagnosis on menopausal symptoms alone.
Commissioners ensure that they commission services in which women over 45 years are diagnosed with perimenopause or menopause based on their menopausal symptoms alone, without confirmatory laboratory tests.
Women over 45 who visit their GP or practice nurse with common symptoms of the menopause are not offered unnecessary blood tests, but have their symptoms assessed by the doctor or nurse to see whether they have started the menopause or will start the menopause soon. Common symptoms of the menopause include hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, and no periods or the occasional period.
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Hormonal Imbalance And Men
You may think that women are the ones facing hormonal imbalances. But this is not the case. Men, as well as womens bodies, produce several hormones that are essential for wellbeing. One very well-known male hormone is testosterone. But, did you know that men, also, produce estrogen? Testosterone is mainly produced in the testicles and, a small amount is produced in the adrenal glands. It is responsible for ones manly characteristics, such as:
- Facial and Body Hair
- Muscle and Bone Density
It also stimulates the production of sperm and affects your desire for sex. It also plays a major role in the way one gains weight and, how and where the body will end up accumulating these fat cells. Finally, red blood cells production is linked to testosterone levels.
Estrogen is made from testosterone with the help of an enzyme known as aromatase. As you age, not only do your testosterone levels naturally drop, but your estrogen levels go up simultaneously. The loss of testosterone with age is referred to by some professionals as andropause male menopause.
However, testosterone levels can drop, even in young men, from several causes, such as:
- Injuries to Scrotum or Testicles
- Testicular Cancer
In fact, one study has shown that 30 percent of men who were overweight had low testosterone, as opposed to only 6.4 percent of men of normal weight. Another study found 24.5 percent of diabetic men having low testosterone as opposed to 12.6 percent of non-diabetic men.
Why Do Doctors Conduct These Tests If Theyre Not Truly Useful
Dr. Rebecca: Some physicians do not understand the cycle well and think that these tests help. A lot of these tests can help us talk about fertility, and if a physician is not menopause savvy they may not understand the difference in usefulness.
Some providers are getting some money from the tests in “special labs.” Some use them to prescribe expensive hormones or supplements that are no better than the pharmaceutical ones â in fact, they are probably less safe.
A big red flag I need to point out: if your provider tells you “only they understand” how this works, or only they have the answer and the rest of the medical community is “behind” or “ignorant” or “just doesn’t understand” and only they can sell the exact product you need, run away.
Any well-trained menopause provider should truly understand how hormones work and change in the perimenopause. We all have access to charts like the perimenopausal transition chart and the STRAW staging of menopause, and we can tell by symptoms and periods about where you are. We all know how to prescribe HRT properly and will recommend that you use an FDA-regulated product.
Compounded hormones are no more “bio-identical,â in fact they are generally a pharmaceutical product which is crushed and compounded into a cream. So itâs the same medication I would prescribe, now less reliably absorbed and dosed.
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Can I Test Myself For Menopause
You can use an at-home menopause test to measure your FSH level, which increases during menopause. However, these kits are not a surefire way of testing for menopause.
Nevertheless, if you use the tests, monitor your symptoms, and track your menstrual cycles, youll have a good overall understanding of your menopausal status.
A doctor can make a diagnosis of menopause depending on your symptoms, medical history, and a thorough health assessment.
How To Understand Your Menopause Blood Test
Once the menopause blood test results come back, that is when most people begin to get lost. After all, the results are full of medical jargon and acronyms you may have never heard of. When broken down, the test becomes much easier to read and understand.
Because your bodys hormones fluctuate regularly, your physician may want to take two separate tests about a month to a month and a half apart to compare the two. That being said, lets take a look at each of the hormones that are looked at in these tests.
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When Should You Test For Perimenopause
Tests confirming that you are heading toward menopause are not necessarily needed or recommended for women over the age of 45. If you have been keeping track of your symptoms and have shared those with your doctor, a good determination can usually be made on this basis alone.
If you are younger than 45 and experiencing menopausal symptoms, hormonal blood tests can give you a pretty accurate picture of where you are in the transition process. If you are under 40 and experiencing menopausal symptoms, hormonal blood tests can also help doctors determine whether you have premature ovarian insufficiency or premature menopause, both of which might require special care.
Why Do I Need An Estrogen Test
You may need an estradiol test or an estrone test if you:
- Are having trouble getting pregnant
- Are a woman of childbearing age who is not having periods or having abnormal periods
- Are a girl with early or delayed puberty
- Have symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and/or night sweats
- Have vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Are a boy with delayed puberty
- Are a man showing female characteristics, such as the growth of breasts
If you are pregnant, your health care provider may order an estriol test between the 15th and 20th week of pregnancy as part of a prenatal test called a triple screen test. It can find out if your baby is at risk for a genetic birth defect such as Down syndrome. Not all pregnant women need to get an estriol test, but it is recommended for women who have a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect. You may be at a higher risk if you:
- Have a family history of birth defects
- Are age 35 or older
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How To Treat Perimenopause When It Occurs
One of the biggest issues women face in perimenopause is the hot flashes. Low-dose oral contraceptives may be prescribed by a medical provider to reduce or eliminate this particularly bothersome symptom.
Activities which enhance a womans well-being are also strongly recommended by many medical providers. This means finding time to exercise on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, trying to get more sleep on a nightly basis, and to quit smoking if necessary.
Dryness during intercourse can also be bothersome for some women and their partner. Speak with your medical provider about what options may be available to you in this area.
Mood swings that are particularly bothersome can lead to future mental health concerns for some women. If you are concerned about this potential symptom of perimenopause, then talk to your doctor about how anti-depressants, counseling, and other options could be added to your treatment plan.
The goal of speaking to your medical provider should be to control bothersome symptoms so you can continue to chase your lifes goals. Use this guide to speak with your doctor about your concerns so that a treatment plan which addresses all of your needs can be established to make this happen.
Can You Use Hormonal Blood Tests To Work Out Whether Or Not You Can Safely Stop Contraception
Potentially, yes. This depends on both your age and the contraception you are using, and whether or not youre using HRT. If your GP thinks hormonal blood tests are helpful and relevant, it is important to remember that the use of either HRT or certain hormonal contraception may well impact the reliability of the blood test results. If youre using HRT or combined hormonal contraception , i.e. the combined pill, vaginal ring, or patch, then hormonal blood tests will not give you a reliable result. These hormones suppress your bodys levels of FSH and LH. Blood tests work by measuring these exact hormones, so if you are taking medication that affects them, testing cannot tell you accurately where you are in terms of your menopause, or whether or not you can stop contraception. If youre using progestogen-only contraception blood testing can be reliable. Your FSH levels are not affected by these methods of contraception. As such, if you are not experiencing a period and you are over fifty, and if you are using progestogen-only contraception, blood testing can determine whether or not you need to use contraception. However, if you are under fifty, blood testing this way cannot tell you whether you can stop using contraception. Here is everything you need to know about menopause contraception.
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