Can a Blood Test Detect Menopause?
Menopause is inevitably experienced by everyone who is born with ovaries. It is a totally natural process and is most simply described as when hormone levels reduce and periods come to a stop. There are, of course, other symptoms that accompany this but that is the most obvious one that is certain to happen to everyone.
Usually, people begin to go through menopause or perimenopause between the ages of 45 and 55. If you go experience menopause before this age you will be described as going through early menopause.
Some people experience perimenopause first which means around menopause. Perimenopause is when you begin to experience menopausal symptoms before your periods have fuly stopped. Menopause is defined as being 12 months after periods have stopped.
There are many different factors that could cause or at least contribute to early menopause unfortunately though sometimes the answer is completely unknown. This does not however affect your being able to get the help you need and you should make sure that you do so that any extra stresses brought on by menopausal symptoms can be quashed as best they can.
What are the signs of menopause and perimenopause?
Unfortunately, there are many different symptoms that you might have as you experience menopause. Nobody goes through menopause in the exact same way as another person.
You could be somebody who experiences many varying symptoms as they go through menopause or you could strike lucky and have none at all. These are both possibilities, unfortunately, though there is no way to know how your body will react until you are menopausal.
Perimenopause is an experience that many women have and you will begin to have symptoms months or years sometime before your periods actually come to a full stop. The first sign that you are experiencing perimenopause is often your periods straying from their normal pattern or becoming irregular.
Perimenopause and menopause can affect seriously affect your physical and mental health and it is important to know how so that you are able to keep an eye out for it.
Examples of mental health symptoms could look like the following:
- Memory problems or problems concentrating (brain fog).
- Mood changes such as anxiety, low mood, mood swings or low self-esteem.
Of course, along with these are the physical symptoms, you may experience the following:
- Inability to sleep properly - this can be caused by night sweats and can result in irritability and exhaustion in the daytime.
- Lower sex drive.
- Joint pain and muscles aching.
- Hot flushes - sudden changes of feeling hot and cold usually on your chest, neck and face which can result in dizziness.
- Headaches that are worse than what you usually experience, even migraines.
- Vaginal dryness, itching, pain or even just discomfort during sex.
- Palpitations - where your heart suddenly feels like it's beating harder and becomes more noticeable.
- Reoccurring UTIs (urinary tract infections).
All of these symptoms can change and develop over the course of your menopause and could last months or years. Where some symptoms may get worse others may improve. All this change is exactly why it is important to ensure you have proper care to help you. If you are able to receive this care early enough it could also cushion the impact it might have on your life.
How do you test for menopause?
The best way to test to find out if you are experiencing menopause is to test for FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). Ovaries produce inhibin which is a hormone and this is the first hormone to be reduced when you begin to go through menopause. Inhibin indicates to the brain's pituitary gland that it should not make too much FSH. So, as inhibin levels drop, FSH levels rise and this is why by testing for the level of FSH you can find out if you are experiencing menopause.
Testing for FSH can be done using either a urine sample or a blood sample. By going to a medical professional you will be more likely to take a test whereas if you choose to use an at-home test then you will be giving a urine sample.
Ideally, the sample should be given on the 3rd day of your menstrual cycle, day 1 would be the day your period starts. Some say that it is alright to do it on days 2 and 4 but it is known that the best day is day 3.
If you are having a blood test you will need to book it in and this is when you may have to settle for day 2 or 4 as the chances of them having an appointment for you or the exact day you need it are unlikely.
If you choose to take an at-home test you have the advantage of being able to make sure that you take the test at the exact right time so that you have the best hae of getting accurate results. At-home tests usually use medical laboratory management software.
If you prefer to have help from a medical professional and a blood test or if you prefer an at-home test is totally up to you. The right test depends on the person so choose what will work best for you.
There are different courses of treatment that you could be offered by your doctor once you have confirmed that you are going through menopause or perimenopause. You could be recommended anything from small lifestyle changes to a prescription for HRT.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is one of the most common treatments that you are likely to have heard at least a little about before. It is a safe and an effective treatment for most people which is likely why it is so well known.
As its name suggests, hormone replacement therapy works by replacing the body’s low levels of oestrogen as you experience menopause.
HRT can come in different types and varying doses and your doctor will help you to figure out exactly what works best for you so that your symptoms ease up.
HRT can come in many forms and choosing the right form for you will help you through the process.
Oestrogen can be prescribed as:
Patches for your skin.
A spray or gel that is applied to the skin.
A lot of people also need to take progesterone as it will protect the lining of the womb from the effects of oestrogen. Just like the combined pill (which contains oestrogen and progesterone), this is known as combined hormone replacement therapy.
Progesterone can be given as any of the following:
Patches for your skin. These can be given as combined patches with the oestrogen.
IUS (an intrauterine system also known as a coil).
If you also experience a low sex drive as a result of your menopause or perimenopause you may also be given testosterone.
Any and all of these decisions should be made as a fully informed choice with your doctor so that you can get the best possible outcome.
Official Rapid Tests
The Menopause Test is a rapid self-test for detecting follicle-stimulating hormone in urine identifying the onset of menopause in women.
If the test indicates the onset of menopause, you may wish to see a doctor to do further tests to confirm the result. A doctor or pharmacist can also help with treatment for your symptoms.
This Instant Menopause Test was created by Official Rapid Tests, started by a team of expert medical professionals, and they now have over 11,000 5-star reviews online. For more information or to ask a question about the instant menopause test, visit the frequently asked questions page.