Menopause – Tests and Diagnosis
Either your physician or a gynecologist will determine whether your body is starting menopause. Usually, the doctor or gynaecologist will diagnose you with menopause if you haven’t had at least a single menstrual period for a year or more. Your physician can also measure the pH levels in your vagina to see if you have reached menopause. Your vaginal pH level will be about 4.5 during your fertile years and will register to around 6 when you are in menopause. Sometimes, the doctor may check the levels of your follicle-stimulating hormone and if your FSH level is higher than normal it may signify menopause.
If your doctor is not convinced that you are in menopause although you may bear the signs and symptoms of menopause, he may perform some tests to see if you suffer from other medical conditions like thyroid problems or ovarian failure instead. These tests may include:
- Kidney function test
- Liver function test
- Lipid profile
- Thyroid function test
- Estrogen test
- FSH test
During your appointment, your physician will question you on the frequency of your symptoms and also ask when you experienced your last menstrual period. Oftentimes the symptoms the female reports suffice to diagnose menopause.
Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Test
Your doctor may perform a follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH test to measure your estrogen and FSH levels. When you start menopause your levels of FSH increase while your estrogen levels decrease. This test will also record estradiol levels which is an estrogen hormone that causes the eggs to mature. When a woman has menopause her levels of estradiol begin to decrease.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Test
Thyroid problems like hypothyroidism manifest symptoms that are identical to menopause symptoms. The doctor will need to perform a TSH in order to diagnose or rule out thyroid dysfunctions as the cause of your symptoms.
Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.