Menopause Test Options

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    Although menopause is often diagnosed based on the presence of menopausal symptoms and a woman's age, some women may undergo a menopause test to help with a detection.  Menopause tests measure the level of hormones in the blood. The test could measure follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, or estradiol. Some factors, such as medications, supplements, and the time of the month, can affect the test results. High levels of follicle stimulating hormone or luteinizing hormone or low levels of estradiol can indicate menopause.

 

Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinizing Tests for Menopause
    Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is secreted by the pituitary gland, an endocrine gland that rests right below the brain. FSH triggers the growth of follicles, collections of cells in the ovaries that contain immature eggs. The results from an FSH test can be affected by medications, supplements, radioactive tracers, heavy smoking, and the menstrual phase that a woman is in. FSH levels peak around the time of ovulation. Elevated FSH levels can mean that a woman is experiencing menopausal.

    Luteinizing hormone (LH) is also secreted by the pituitary gland. LH causes a follicle to release its egg during ovulation. Some medications and supplements can affect the results of an LH test. LH levels also vary depending on which phase of the menstrual cycle a woman is in. The amount of LH in the blood peaks around the time of ovulation. Higher of LH can indicate that a woman is going through menopause.

Estradiol Test for Menopause
    Estradiol is a type of estrogen. The ovaries are the main source of estradiol before menopause, but it also comes from the adrenal cortex, a gland next to the kidneys. During pregnancy, the fetus's placenta produces estradiol as well. Estradiol is important for a woman's reproductive system and feminine characteristics. Estradiol causes the growth of the uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. It is responsible for breast development. Estradiol helps control the distribution of a woman's body fat and  plays a role in a woman's shorter height. After ovulation, estradiol and another hormone called progesterone inhibit the production of FSH and LH and guide the development of the uterine lining to prepare it for a possible pregnancy.

    The estradiol test for menopause measures the level of estradiol in the blood. The results of this test can be affected by some medications and supplements and by the phase of the menstrual cycle that a woman is in. Lower estradiol levels in the blood are a sign of menopause.

    Menopause is typically defined when a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. A doctor can diagnose menopause based on the symptoms a woman presents and her age. Blood tests for hormones can detect menopause. Menopause leads to higher levels of FSH and LH and lower levels of estradiol. Some things can interfere with the reliability of these menopause tests. Talk to a doctor if you feel you need a menopause test.


Hormones Measured in Menopause Tests
Follicle Stimulating Hormone    A hormone produced by the pituitary gland to induce follicle growth
Luteinizing Hormone    A hormone produced by the pituitary gland to induce ovulation
Estradiol    A type of estrogen. The ovaries produce this hormone to support reproduction.


References:
1. Follicle Stimulating Hormone. WebMD.
http://women.webmd.com/follicle-stimulating-hormone

2. Menopause: Tests and Diagnosis. Mayo Clinic.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menopause/DS00119/DSECTION=tests-and-diagnosis

3. LH Blood Test. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003708.htm

4. FSH. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003710.htm

5. Estradiol Test. Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003711.htm

6. Biology 5th edition by Peter H. Raven and George B. Johnson
 

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