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How is perimenopause diagnosed?

Perimenopause is "the time around menopause," marked from the time at which periods become irregular and hormone levels begin changing until 12 months after the last menstrual bleed. Menopause is when periods stop completely. Menopause itself is therefore recognized 12 months after the fact. As for perimenopause, a blood test can be done to measure the level of a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone, or FSH. Generally, if this is high, it could mean that hormone levels have begun changing, and therefore perimenopause has begun, but the simplest way is if periods have become irregular.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Depending on your age, doctors don't usually perform any blood tests to see if you're perimenopausal. The exception is if there is a possibility that you're pregnant, which is another reason why your periods may stop. But hormones can fluctuate widely during this time so a test will usually not offer any useful information. There really isn't a need to diagnose perimenopause since it is a gradual process that occurs over many years.
The symptoms of perimenopause are usually obvious. The strongest diagnostic clue is menstrual periods that become irregular. Having hot flashes is another diagnostic clue. Vaginal dryness is very common. Although laboratory tests aren't usually necessary to diagnose perimenopause, your doctor can use a blood test to check your levels of some hormones. A pelvic exam will show vaginal thinning.

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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.