Are there blood tests for early menopause?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

When diagnosing early menopause, the doctor will first ask you about your symptoms and personal and medical history; you will only be diagnosed with early menopause if you are between 40 and 45. Then, you may have a complete physical exam which will likely include a pelvic exam. The doctor may want you to take a pregnancy test, as pregnancy can also cause you to stop menstruating.

Doctors may test your blood to measure levels of certain hormones when diagnosing early menopause. Your pituitary gland, which is located just below your brain, releases luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH helps eggs grow during the first half of the menstrual cycle, and ovulation, or the release of an egg, occurs in response to LH. If your ovaries are not functioning normally, as in someone with early menopause, the levels of LH and FSH rise, and doctors can detect that in the blood. A prolactin test, an estradiol test, and a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test may be done for confirmation and to eliminate other possible causes of menopause-like symptoms.

Measurements of various hormones through blood work can help your doctor determine whether your ovaries are working. Women with early menopause have distinctive levels of these hormones. A karyotype analysis can be used to determine whether you have irregular chromosomes. Some women with early menopause have one X chromosome per cell as opposed to two, so this could be a way to diagnose the condition.

Boston Women's Health Book Collective
Administration Specialist

Early menopause or premature ovarian failure can be diagnosed using a number of tests. Your healthcare provider should initially perform a thorough physical exam, in which she or he will draw blood and take your medical and family histories in order to rule out other possible conditions such as pregnancy, extreme weight loss, thyroid disease or other hormonal disturbances. Your provider may also order a test to measure your levels of estradiol, a form of estrogen. Low levels of estradiol can indicate that your ovaries are starting to fail and may signal that you are perimenopausal or menopausal. Other assessments may include thyroid tests, vaginal acidity analysis, ultrasound and tests of blood levels of prolactin and luteinizing hormone.

The most important test used to diagnose early menopause is a blood test that measures your level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH causes your ovaries to produce estrogen. When your ovaries slow down or begin to fail, your levels of FSH increase. If your FSH levels rise above 30 or 40, it is generally a sign that you are entering menopause. However, because your hormone levels may fluctuate from one week to the next, the results of the first test can be misleading. Therefore, you should have this testing done for at least two consecutive months. It is considered more reliable three or four days after the start of a period.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

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Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause

Dr. John K. Jain, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Menopause occurs when the number of eggs in the ovaries drops below a critical mass, thought to be approximatley 1000 eggs. Blood levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Estrogen, Inhibin B and Antimullerian Hormone (AMH) have been used to estimate the remaining egg pool (ovarian reserve). Of these tests, AMH most closely follows the pattern of natural egg loss. While AMH cannot predict the actual time to menopause, it does correlate well with diminishing egg counts and infertility. AMH can be measured at any point in the menstrual cycle.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.