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Many health care employees will suggest that you need a blood test for menopause. Usually they are talking about a test for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). However, the usefulness of these tests before you reach menopause is questionable. So what can you do?
One day you realize that you are not feeling as good as you used to. Maybe you're sleeping less, or seem to be more emotional than normal, or maybe you are getting headaches that are stronger or last longer than they did before. Before what, is the question. If you are in your forties, chances are you're entering perimenopause. Susun Weed, in her book, New Menopausal Years, says that if you're wondering if this is menopause, it probably is.
The best way to confirm that you are in menopause is to go one year without a period, and have the blood tests for FSH and LH. FSH should be greater than 30IU/l and LH greater than 40IU/l. These three things will confirm menopause.
But what if you are having symptoms of perimenopause? If those symptoms are irregular periods, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, or weight gain, you could be in perimenopause, or you may have a thyroid problem. Or you could be perimenopausal and have a thyroid problem! It is important to get a thyroid test, because a thyroid problem will not go away on it's own. Unfortunately, thyroid testing is not as simple as it should be. For more information, see thyroid and menopause
The traditional blood test for menopause includes the two tests mentioned above, the FSH test and the LH test. But these tests are unreliable before menopause because your hormones are fluctuating too much. What you really need to know before menopause, if you are having problematic symptoms, is what your blood levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are. These tests, along with a thyroid test, will give you the information you need to get better.
If you have low estrogen or progesterone, you can use diet, supplements and herbs to balance out your hormones. If this doesn't work, or you want to take a different approach, I would recommend looking into bioidentical hormone therapy
By the time the FSH test confirms that you are in menopause, you will probably already know it, and you won't need a test. However, if you have gone a year without a period, and then you have a period, you need to get your FSH and LH blood test for menopause. Bleeding after menopause can be a sign of cancer, so you don't want to mess around with it.
So, if you need to confirm that menopause has occurred, and you have gone a year without a period, then go ahead and get your FSH and LH tests. But if you are still in perimenopause, or wondering if you are, then the estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid tests are the ones you want.
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