How Can I Check My FSH Levels at Home?
When women reach a certain age, their hormones begin to change, and this causes changes in their bodies. It can be unnerving to think about this happening to you, but we’re here to tell you that it is a normal and natural process, and if you’re well-informed, it makes the process easier.
If you’ve noticed changes in your menstrual cycle, mood, and temperature, you could be in perimenopause. An FSH test can help you understand what is happening in your body, so you can change your lifestyle and ask for treatment and advice from your GP if needed.
In this post, we discuss the FSH hormone, its links to menopause, and what tests there are, including instant home tests, to help you determine if your body is going through the change.
What is FSH?
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone present in both males and females and is released by the pituitary gland in the brain. In males, FSH helps control the production of sperm, and in females, FSH helps manage the menstrual cycle and stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs.
Why test FSH levels?
For males, FSH levels don't change much throughout their lives, so there is no need to test. However, in women, FSH levels vary during the menopause transition.
Whilst a change in FSH levels doesn’t diagnose menopause alone, an increase in FSH menopause coupled with specific symptoms tells women if they’re in the menopause transition. With an elevation in FSH levels, fertility has most likely decreased, leading towards menopause.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a completely natural process for women. The time before menopause is called perimenopause, when a woman may experience symptoms. A change in hormone levels causes periods to stop and leads to other symptoms too.
One of the first hormone changes is the decrease in the hormone inhibin. The ovaries make inhibin and tell the brain's pituitary gland to produce less follicle-stimulating hormone. During the menopause transition, when inhibin levels go down, FSH goes up. These hormone changes can occur months or even years before menopause sets in.
Menopause typically occurs 12 months after a woman's last period. It usually happens around 45 and 55 but can happen sooner or later. In the months or years leading up to this point, women can experience symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings and weight gain.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause means around menopause; therefore, it refers to when a woman's body transitions to menopause. During perimenopause, women may experience symptoms and changes leading to menopause.
It is during perimenopause
that the hormone levels change, including FSH. This phase is relatively quick for some women, lasting only a few months from their last period to menopause. For others, the perimenopause stage can last years, and so can the symptoms.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
Menopause symptoms differ from woman to woman and can come and go. Symptoms start during perimenopause and ease off during postmenopause (12 months after the last period), although some women still experience symptoms beyond the onset of postmenopause.
The main symptom includes:
- Changes to the menstrual cycle
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
If you haven't had a period in over 12 months, you're over 45, and you have experienced menopausal symptoms, you are likely in menopause. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you struggle to manage your symptoms.
Is there a way to test FSH at home?
Yes! Official Rapid Tests have developed an instant menopause test that works by testing the FSH hormone in urine, and you can do this by ordering online and taking the test at home. This test works similarly to a pregnancy test and gives results almost instantly.
If the test indicates FSH in your urine, this could mean you’re in the perimenopause or menopause stage, particularly if you have the accompanying symptoms. Learn more about the test and Official Rapid Tests by visiting our frequently asked questions page.
Can an FSH test tell me if I’m in menopause?
Sometimes, FSH levels are measured to confirm menopause, but that alone isn’t always enough to be sure. If you have been experiencing menopausal symptoms, particularly a change in your period, as well as elevated FSH and a positive FSH test result, it is likely you’re in or approaching perimenopause.
Our instant menopause test is qualitative. You will find out whether or not you have elevated FSH levels, not if you definitely are in menopause or perimenopause.
A doctor can usually confirm whether you are menopausal based on your symptoms and a blood test to measure your hormone levels, similar to the instant menopause test.
Can an FSH test tell me that I’m not in menopause?
If you take the test and receive a negative result, but you’re having menopausal symptoms, don’t assume that you aren’t going through perimenopause, as there could be other reasons for a negative result.
Don’t rely solely on an FSH test to determine your fertility; continue using contraception if you already do, and speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about your result.
Why should I take an FSH test?
If you’re experiencing menopausal symptoms such as a change in your periods, mood swings, sleep problems and weight gain, you should take the test if you want to know if they are likely linked to menopause.
Whilst many women don’t find the transition challenging with either few or no symptoms, some women find perimenopause a distressing time. By taking an FSH test, you can see your GP with advice about your symptoms and be better informed of your condition.
If you're over 45, menopause is entirely normal and nothing to worry about. But if you're experiencing these symptoms before 45, you could be in early menopause or premature menopause.
What is early menopause?
Menopause that starts before the age of 45 is considered early menopause. Natural, early menopause affects around 5% of women. Women can experience early menopause for many reasons; even certain surgeries and cancer treatments can cause it.
Other reasons for early menopause include:
- Ageing - the risk increases after 35.
- Family history
- Genetic disorders
- Autoimmune conditions
What is premature menopause?
Premature menopause is when menopause naturally occurs before the age of 40. Premature menopause means the ovaries aren't working correctly, as they've stopped producing eggs years before they should, drastically reducing the chances of a woman becoming pregnant.
Premature menopause affects around 1% of women under the age of 40 and 0.1% of women under the age of 30. However, in 90% of women that experience premature menopause, the reason goes unknown. If you suspect you're transitioning into premature menopause, see a doctor to get checked out.
Is there treatment for early menopause?
The main treatment for early menopause is either the combined contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy to compensate for the missing hormones to correct the imbalance. HRT can also help to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
Always talk to your doctor about the risks of any treatment offered because although the benefits of HRT generally outweigh the risks, it can increase the risk of breast cancer.
About Official Rapid Tests
Official Rapid Tests was set up by a team of medical industry experts with a combined experience of 40 years in the testing, diagnosing and medical services sector.
Our founders identified a need for faster, more reliable, affordable covid testing solutions in the UK. Tackling this problem was the foundation on which Official Rapid Testing was born, then expanding to other rapid tests, including men’s fertility tests, instant menopause tests, and other health tests, including vitamin D, ovulation, thyroid, bowel cancer tests and many more.
We use Welzo and NFC technology, the latest technology, to ensure that our medicines and packages are tracked and managed effectively throughout the supply chain. Our customers are always our top priority, and we are committed to providing the highest quality care and service.
Visit our website today and order your menopause test for instant results and peace of mind. After all, it’s always better to know.
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How can you check your FSH levels at home? Well, with an Online Rapid Test's instant menopause test.
The test checks for FSH in your urine, which is an indicator of menopause but not a complete diagnosis. If you're experiencing menopausal symptoms and have a positive test result, you're likely in perimenopause (the transitional menopause stage).
Speak to your doctor if you're concerned about your test result and symptoms, as treatments can help with some symptoms. Take the test so you can be better informed before visiting your doctor.