Menopause Test: How Do I Know I'm in Menopause?
If you’re 40+ and starting to experience some mysterious changes in your body, those are just some of the symptoms women experience when they go through menopause.
Menopause typically happens to women between the age of 44 and 55 when their menstrual cycle comes to an end. When women go through menopause, their ovaries stop releasing mature eggs, and their natural levels of estrogen drop. When this happens, they’ll experience a lot of unpleasant symptoms like irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, and brain fog.
While their intentions are good, many doctors fail to diagnose menopause properly and prescribe remedies to lessen the symptoms of menopause. A lot of doctors just tell women to get more sleep and keep their windows open to cool down when they get hot flashes.
How Do I Know When I Am In Menopause?
When you haven’t had a menstrual period, ovulation, or menstruation for 12 consecutive months, you can confirm menopause. This means the ovaries have fully stopped releasing mature eggs and you can’t get pregnant any longer.
Before that, there is a transition period called perimenopause, where several signs and symptoms we mentioned above become present. The easy way to accurately diagnose menopause is to examine your symptoms.
Most women start to notice perimenopausal symptoms in their 40s. Perimenopause can usually be self-diagnosed, by carefully examining the signs. It can last anywhere between 6 months to several years and affect women differently. Some women have perimenopause rather symptom-free and tolerate it, while others have to deal with severe symptoms, interfering with their daily life.
If you’re experiencing any of them, you’ll definitely know:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Brain fog
- Vaginal dryness or discomfort
- Mood changes
- Joints ache
- Thinning of hair
- Weight gain and slower metabolism
- Night sweats
- Sleep disturbances
These symptoms can be reduced by proper treatment, diet supplements, lifestyle adjustments, to improve your energy, sleep, hot flashes, mood, and sex. Learn more about the 34 symptoms of menopause here.
Around 1% of women experience premature menopause, meaning that menopause starts before the age of 40. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption can start menopause earlier.
Early menopause can also be hereditary so if you have family members who went through it at an early age, you could potentially reach menopause prematurely as well. If you suspect to have gone into menopause before the age of 45, consult your close relatives and your doctor.
Menopause Testing Options
Women's health experts say menopause is typically diagnosed based on multiple factors like age and symptoms. Doctors will normally order other tests to rule out ovarian failure or a thyroid condition which can have similar symptoms of menopause.
In most cases, menopause can be self-diagnosed. The three most used ways to diagnose menopause are saliva tests, Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) tests, and symptom assessments.
Other serious illnesses mimic perimenopause with similar symptoms, such as thyroid disease or hypothyroidism. Accurately testing menopause will help you rule out these diseases or catch them before they develop. It should be known that laboratory test results by themselves cannot diagnose menopause.
Although saliva hormone tests are heavily advertised, the North American Menopause Society say they are quite expensive and their accuracy is questionable. These tests work by measuring hormones such as estrogen in your saliva. Be careful with the results because the measurements are not always accurate when your hormone levels are still fluctuating.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland.
Each month, FSH levels increase temporarily in your body to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. As you get older, you enter menopause and your ovaries stop working. As the level of estrogen (estradiol) and progesterone declines, the body reacts to it by producing follicle-stimulating hormone. This causes your FSH levels to increase.
Doctors and off-the-shelf tests measure FSH levels using urine or blood test to confirm menopause. Although there are over-the-counter home test kits to check urine FSH levels, there’s a catch.
During perimenopause, when periods happen irregularly, the FSH levels can vary from day to day which may make FSH tests unreliable. Also, levels of FSH in the blood correlate poorly with menopausal symptoms.
The FDA says that home tests can measure follicle-stimulating hormone 9 times out of 10 very accurately. However, the results from the FSH test cannot confirm whether a person is in perimenopause or menopause.
This is why some doctors don’t even test for FSH at all. Instead, they diagnose menopause by asking questions and assessing the symptoms. FSH tests work in combination with the assessment of symptoms to determine if you have entered menopause.
Sometimes, the best way to determine if you’re going into menopause is to evaluate the symptoms and check your medical history. This is what most doctors will do as well as our online assessment. If you plan on consulting a doctor, prepare a list of your medication, medical history, track irregularities in periods, and keep track of any symptoms that relate to menopause. This will help your doctor or OB-GYN accurately diagnose you.
I asked the Gennev Director of Health, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, MD, Ob/Gyn – who has worked with women in menopause for the past 20 years – to help us build the Gennev Menopause Assessment.
Our Assessment results in a unique, truly personal Menopause Profile. The profile starts with a summary of where you’re at in the perimenopause and menopause transition. Based on that, it provides personalized resources for what you’re experiencing and gives you exclusive access to monthly, free, live webinars with our team of physicians and health providers.
Dr. Rebecca has seen it all – all the physical and emotional changes women experience. Her response? It’s a phase, and it’s an opportunity. There’s so much we can do now to mitigate the irritating, painful, and emotional changes we’re going through while planning for our health in the long-term.
She’s been my rock, and now you can learn from her too.
So take the 5-minute Gennev Menopause Assessment now, and in 2-3 days, you’ll experience the start to a highly valuable source for personalized care.
When should you see a doctor?
You should definitely see a doctor, gynecologists, or an OB-GYN if you start to notice menopause symptoms. A doctor can determine if it’s menopause, rule out the possibility of disease by asking questions about your symptoms and taking a few tests.
Proper doctors can help you alleviate the symptoms and discomfort you experience going through menopause. Some women experience mild symptoms and tolerate them. If your symptoms interfere with your life and well-being, get in touch with a menopause clinic to find out how these symptoms can be reduced, so you can thrive with a renewed sense of energy!
Here’s a little snippet of how we help women to a better life after menopause:
- Nutrition supplements
- Prescriptions (Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), Birth Control, UTI, etc.)
- Natural approaches to menopause relief
- Video-based appointments
- Telemedicine expert care
- Online community with expert advice, so you don’t go through it alone
Why seeing a doctor matters
If you haven’t been doing routine checkups, taking good care of your health and well-being, menopause is an important opportunity to change that.
When entering menopause, women have a higher risk of developing age-related illnesses, as well as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Regular check-ups, healthier lifestyles prevent the development of these diseases and help you catch them early on.
When you understand what your body is going through, you can start taking measures to reduce symptoms and continue thriving with a renewed sense of well-being.
If you’re well into the perimenopause or menopause change, you probably have a few questions.
As a woman who is maturing into the best years of my life, I too have countless questions about “the change” – whether or not I’m in it, how I should be managing the symptoms, and how it’s impacting my long-term health?
Another question for me has been: who do I talk to? My friends are awesome on a cathartic level, but who’s the right health provider or professional that I can trust through this perimenopause transition?
At Gennev, it’s our mission to help women live a better life with menopause. Our clinic specializes in the healthcare treatment of menopause symptoms, so you can improve your energy, sleep, mood, sex, reduce hot flashes and thrive.
Get useful, helpful, and relevant health wellness information by checking out our solutions.
Have you taken our Menopause Assessment?
Join over 100,000 women to learn more about your symptoms and where you are in the menopause journey.