Are you wondering, “Am I in menopause?”
Are you asking yourself, “Why is my body acting so strange? Doesn’t even seem like me!”
The truth is, many women who are entering menopause don’t have any idea it’s menopause that is happening to them.
That’s especially true for about 5 to 10 percent of women who enter menopause beforeage 45. And their symptoms often start up to 10 years beforethat. That’s why the idea of menopause never enters their minds and why they see 3-4 doctors before they come to see me.
Here are 5 tips to help you know if what you are experiencing is menopause:
- Your periods stop for 12 months or more. Occasionally that can be due to other causes. But the most common cause of one year without a period is menopause.
- A blood test for the hormone FSH is elevated. There is no specific value that says, “This is menopause!” But any value you get that is twice the normal range is a pretty good clue that menopause is either here or near. A consistently elevated FSH in combination with 12 months of no periods is the best way to diagnose menopause.
- Most women also have symptoms along with these findings. Hot flashes, palpitations, mood swings, brain fog, vaginal dryness, weight gain, bloating, and sensitive bladder are common ones.
- Avoid saliva testing for FSH levels because they are less accurate and more expensive.
- Other testsare available to help with the diagnosis but are not precise.
- AMH, or anti-Mullerian hormone is a substance produced by granulosa cells in ovarian follicles. Follicles are the fluid filled sacs that surround the eggs within the ovary. Higher AMH levels generally mean a woman has more eggs and is further from menopause. Lower levels generally mean a woman is closer to menopause.
- The FDA has recently approved another type of AMH test called the PicoAMH ELISA test. The results should be used in conjunction with clinical assessment and other laboratory findings and can help determine if you are in menopause, less than 5 years from menopause or greater than 5 years from menopause It will be sold under the name menoCheck®.
If you’re having any of the symptoms above, ask your healthcare provider about menopause. There are lots of treatments available to help you. If you’re curious whether your symptoms suggest menopause, take this one-minute www.MenopauseQuiz.com and get instant feedback.