Menopause occurs when periods stop, and you have gone 12 consecutive months since having your last period. During menopause, women’s ovaries become unable to release mature eggs, and they cannot get pregnant. Generally, it is developed long before the actual complete formation of menopause, leading to many physical changes and symptoms.
Menopause is most likely to occur between the forties and fifties. The most common age of menopause among women is fifty-one. However, it can occur at an early age, leading to early menopause.
Following are the stages that you’ll have to go through to diagnose menopause:
- Noting prominent symptoms
- Use home kit for menopause
- Physical examination
- Hormone tests
The first two stages are self-diagnosed, while the other two are examined by your doctor and other healthcare workers.
Identifying the menopause symptoms helps you prepare yourself for the changes caused by the menopause transition. However, a woman may experience different symptoms based on their health history.
The symptoms occur before the complete formation of menopause. This state is also called perimenopause.
Some common symptoms of menopause formation are:
- Irregular periods
- Lower sexual drive
- Skin dryness
- Vagina dryness
- Hair thinning
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
During the perimenopause phase, you may experience at least a month without a period. But if you aren’t using contraception and missing a period, it’s better to see your doctor to make sure that you aren’t pregnant.
Can I Self-Diagnose Menopause?
Yes, in most cases, menopause can be self-diagnosed. However, you must talk to your doctor to confirm a diagnosis by identifying the symptoms that occur due to menopause. It helps you mentally and physically prepare for the changes you’ll experience due to menopause.
For diagnosing menopause, your gynaecologist may ask about certain changes in your health that you may have been experiencing. They may even ask you to conduct a few medical tests to confirm menopause clinically.
How To Self-Diagnose For Menopause
To diagnose menopause by yourself, you’ll need a Home Menopause Test Kits. This kit doesn’t directly tell you about menopause, but it measures the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels in your urine.
If a woman has no menstrual period for at least six to twelve months, is aged between her forties to fifties, and the levels of FSH is higher than the normal range depending on the person’s age, then there is a high probability that she has reached menopause.
But it’s not a definitive way to detect whether you are in the perimenopause or menopause phase. And also, menopause can occur even before reaching the age of forty as women’s hormones may fluctuate from time to time.
So, it’s better to talk to your doctor about the status of your menopause after practising self-diagnosis for menopause.
Physical Examination For Menopause
When visiting the doctor for a menopause diagnosis, you must note the symptoms. And if possible, do a self-diagnosis using the Home Menopause Kit at home. The doctor may ask about physical or mental changes, menstrual period cycle, mood changes, FSH levels, etc.
Clinically, they may recommend the following test:
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Estradiol Hormone
- Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Vaginal pH levels
- Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
The follicles in the ovaries are responsible for the cycle of producing and releasing the eggs, ensuring fertility and menstruation. Generally, the doctors recommend a blood test to check the levels of FSH hormones in your body. If FSH levels are higher than the normal range based on the woman’s age, she may be experiencing perimenopause or menopause.
You can view the normal levels of FSH based on the age range in the following table:
|FSH (On Day 3 of the Menstrual Cycle)|
< 33 Years
< 7.0 mlU/mL
< 7.9 mIU/mL
< 8.4 mIU/mL
|= 41+ Years||
< 8.5 mIU/mL
The cycle of maturing and production of the egg is also regulated by another hormone called Estradiol (P.S: it’s a form of Estrogen hormones). If you are experiencing menopause, the levels of Estradiol hormones will decrease to 10 pg/mL or even lower.
Testing Estradiol can also help detect any disorder in the anterior pituitary gland. That is because Estradiol circulates through the brain and pituitary gland while influencing the body weight, reproduction, memory and learning hormones.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
TSH is ubiquitous among middle-aged women. It affects the thyroid gland and causes similar symptoms to menopause. The levels of TSH in your body can be checked by a blood test.
When women reach their menopause phase, it is produced in low amounts, leading them to feel weight changes and fatigue. However, if these symptoms are persistent, you must talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
Vaginal pH Levels
During your reproductive years, the pH balance level of your vagina lies around 4.5. However, it drastically increases to up to 6 if you have reached the perimenopause or menopause phase.
The healthcare worker may use an absorbent pad, called a swab, on your vagina to test the menopause diagnosis based on the pH balance level.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
AMH is a test used by doctors to assess a woman’s fertility. It tests all those cells responsible for the menstruation cycle and related to the egg’s production/release.
AMH is recently approved under the PicoAMH Elisa diagnostic test, and its levels can be checked through a blood test. It indicates that whether you are in the perimenopause or menopause stage.
Depending on your health history and symptoms, your doctor or gynaecologist may recommend additional blood tests in order to diagnose your symptoms for menopause.
It may include the tests of:
- Liver function
- Kidney function
- Blood lipid profile
- Progesterone hormones
- Testosterone hormones
- Prolactin hormones
- Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Menopause Treatment Options
If you are in perimenopause or menopause and it is disturbing your daily life activities, then your doctor may discuss the following treatment options:
- Get enough nutrients and vitamins, take a nutritious diet from a professional nutritionist and vitamin supplements from your doctor.
- To overcome vaginal dryness during sexual intercourse, use water-based lubricants to avoid discomfort.
- Exercise regularly to delay your physical health conditions that can lead to a painful transition to menopause.
- To overcome the hot flashes, make your room cooler and drink cold water while avoiding smoking, caffeine, and alcoholic beverages.
- Get plenty of sleep and rest. Usually, the recommended hours are seven to nine hours a day, but it varies from person to person.
By practising the above measures, you’ll be able to get relief from severe menopause symptoms. However, to ensure the best care for your health, you must consult a specialist or doctor regarding your observed symptoms.
Menopause is mainly experienced by middle-aged women when their bodies stop the release or production of a mature egg. If the symptoms of menopause are severe, then additional care is needed. It can be self-diagnosed, but you must consult a doctor to declare and take treatment for your menopause symptoms clinically.
Taking preventive measures helps to either delay menopause in case of young age or keep you healthy enough to bear the symptoms while transitioning occurs for the menopause phase.
There are many treatments that you can try to relieve the symptoms of menopause. However, you must consult and discuss the physical and mental changes you are experiencing with your doctor to get the best-recommended care for your health.