Menopause is diagnosed when a woman who has a uterus has not had a menstrual period for one year.
Some of the more common signs of the menopause transition (a term that refers to the five or more years around the time of menopause) that may prompt a woman to seek consultation with a qualified healthcare professional include:
- hot flashes
- vaginal dryness
- urinary tract infections or painful urination
- stress incontinence (leaking of urine)
- night sweats
- heart palpitations
- mood changes
- anxiety and irritability
- diminished concentration
- decreased sexual desire
Ask your healthcare professional about any changes you notice. And remember, menopause is not a disease; it is another life stage. (The changes listed above have not all been scientifically proven to be related to menopause.)
As part of the evaluation of symptoms that may be caused by menopause, your healthcare professional will carefully assess your symptoms and administer a thorough physical examination. You will also be asked to provide a complete medical history; be sure to bring up information about your family medical history, as well.
Laboratory tests may include baseline serum chemistry studies, lipid evaluation and hormonal evaluation. Other tests may include:
- pap test
- bone density screening
- assessment of the uterine lining, when indicated
- pelvic ultrasound screening, when indicated
Menopause is associated with consistently increased follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. In perimenopausal women, elevated FSH levels are sometimes detected; however, this FSH elevation is often intermittent (and therefore unreliable), so the ultimate determining factor in knowing whether you have experienced menopause is if you have not had a period for 12 consecutive months.
Menopause is diagnosed when a woman who has a uterus has not had a
menstrual period for one year. Some of the more common signs of the
menopause transition (a term that refers to the five or more years
around the time of menopause) that may... More