Menopause Tests and What They Mean
Firstly, I will start by saying, it is not at all necessary to have tests done to see if you’re in menopause. Menopause itself is not a medical condition and there is no cure for it, however some of the symptoms are. So do see your doctor if you feel you need professional advice, or menopause is having an impact on your daily life.
Your FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels rise when your ovaries stop producing enough oestrogen, so high FSH levels can signal that your body is entering menopause.
FSH levels above 10 to 12 mIU/ml show that your ovaries are starting to fail. At this point, you might notice physical symptoms, but you may still be getting your period fairly regularly. Higher FSH levels — levels about 35 to 40 — are usually taken to signal ovarian failure, or menopause.
However, do bear in mind that your hormones fluctuate wildly in peri menopause and it may be difficult to get accurate readings. If you are on the contraceptive pill, this may also give false readings. For these reasons, some doctors will not offer FSH tests – but if they do, you will probably need at least three separate tests doing at different times of the month.
Another test you might want to ask for is a blood test of your estradiol levels. Estradiol is a form of oestrogen in your body — and the levels of it drop when your ovaries start to fail. So low estradiol levels may indicate that you’re entering an early menopause.
Generally, if your estradiol levels are below 36 pg/ml (in conjunction with a high FSH level), you are considered menopausal. If your estradiol levels are lower than 50 picograms per milliliter, you may still be having a period, but also may be experiencing symptoms of low estrogen — including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sleep difficulties.
As with FSH testing, the results can be unpredictable.
You may also have your thyroid examined as your doctor assesses you to reach a diagnosis (because many symptoms of thyroid disorder overlap with menopause symptoms). This is wise to determine whether your symptoms are due to thyroid problems or menopause.
These types of tests are available over the counter (OTC) and work similar to pregnancy tests.
If your doctor cannot get accurate results with FSH or blood testing, then these types of tests wont be of any benefit.