Can I Just Do A Perimenopause Test?
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a test that could simply and accurately read + or – for perimenopause? Just like a pregnancy test, it would be nice to be able to say, “Yep, I am in perimenopause” or “Nope, I feel like hell for another reason.” While the testing is not as simple and straightforward as a pregnancy test, there are some perimenopause test tools that doctors use to determine if a woman is in perimenopause.
If you notice that you have some (or all) of the 34 symptoms of perimenopause, you may want to schedule a time to meet with your gynecologist. To prepare for this visit, you will want to monitor your symptoms, their severity, and frequency. Also, you will want to track your periods so you can talk about any changes or irregularities. Sometimes, describing your symptoms alone is enough for your doctor to determine whether or not you are in perimenopause. However, there are certain tests that can help determine how close you are to being in menopause.
How To Test Perimenopause
Your doctor may order a blood test for perimenopause. The blood test your doctor will likely order usually looks at a combination of hormone levels in your body. Estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are the two primary tests run on a blood sample to detect ovarian failure, which is normal and expected in menopause. In menopause, FSH rises while estrogen levels fall. When FSH levels are consistently elevated to 30mIU/ml or higher and periods have been absent for one year, your doctor will likely confirm that you are in menopause.
However, testing hormones can be highly misleading in perimenopause as hormone levels vary widely. Furthermore, if a woman is using hormone therapy such as birth control pills, the tests will also be inaccurate.
The PicoAMH Elisa diagnostic tool in another blood test that has been recently approved by the FDA. This test measures the amount of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) that is in your blood. AMH detects a woman’s ability to produce eggs for fertilization, as well as identifies how many potential egg cells a woman has left for fertilization. An AMH test is done for both fertility therapy (such as in-vitro fertilization) as well as to predict the start of menopause.
Other Tests You Can Expect
While a hormone blood test for perimenopause can be misleading, your doctor may add on other blood tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing perimenopause-like symptoms.
- A thyroid function test to check for thyroid dysfunction
- A cholesterol panel (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, may increase in menopause)
- Tests for liver and kidney function
“…testing hormones can be highly misleading in perimenopause as hormone levels vary widely. Furthermore, if a woman is using hormone therapy such as birth control pills, the tests will also be inaccurate.”
Other Menopause Test Options Besides Bloodwork
Studies have indicated that a vaginal pH swab may be a more accurate, simple, and cost-effective tool to diagnose menopause than blood work. To diagnose menopause, vaginal pH should be greater than 4.5. Indeed, most women in menopause have a vaginal pH of nearly 6, whereas women in their reproductive years have a pH of less than 4.5.
Some providers may also order a saliva test that detects hormone levels. However, current research does not back these tests up for efficacy. Furthermore, they can be expensive for the shaky results they often deliver.
The Bottom Line On A Menopause Test
Your doctor will likely be able to determine if you are in perimenopause by reviewing your medical history and your symptoms. Also, they will go through a detailed review of your menstrual history. If you suspect you are in perimenopause, it is a great time to have a complete medical exam. The perimenopause transition can begin age-related changes in a woman’s body, such as osteoporosis. Furthermore, it is also important to rule out other conditions that may mimic perimenopause such as a thyroid disorder.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment.