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What is menopause?
Menopause is when you have stopped having periods for a year due to a drop in the levels of hormones oestrogen and progesterone. This means you can no longer get naturally pregnant. This transition usually happens between 45 and 55, however it can sometimes happen before 40, known as early menopause. Menopausal symptoms can begin up to five years before periods stop.
Is this test for you?
You may want to do a blood test to see if your hormones indicate that you are entering menopause, especially if you are below 45 and are worried about early menopause. You may also want for reassurance that the symptoms you are experiencing including hot flushes, discomfort during sex, depression or anxiety and problems with memory and concentration, are due to the menopause and not due to another serious condition.
Tests included in this package
During child-bearing years, the hormones FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), oestradiol, and progesterone work in concert each month to develop and release an egg from the ovaries (ovulate) and to either regulate the monthly menstrual period or support the beginning of a pregnancy. As menopause approaches, the cyclical production of oestradiol and progesterone by the ovaries diminishes and becomes less consistent.
The beginning of the menopausal process is called the menopausal transition or perimenopause. It may begin sometime in a woman's 40s, but maybe earlier in the late thirties. It is a gradual process and usually takes two to five years to complete.
During perimenopause, hormone levels can fluctuate high to low from one month to the next, with periods and ovulation become irregular. A woman may have a period and then go for several months before having another, and some women may find that the frequency and intensity of their periods actually increase during perimenopause. Even though irregularities during menopause transition are to be expected, a woman should discuss all changes with her healthcare practitioner so that she can ensure that symptoms are not being caused by something other than hormone fluctuations. Perimenopausal women must also keep in mind that although it becomes less likely, a woman in transition can still become pregnant.
Once a menopausal woman has gone twelve months without a period, the transition is generally considered complete and she enters post-menopause. At this stage, her ovaries have essentially stopped producing oestradiol and progesterone, she is no longer ovulating, and can no longer become pregnant. Though this is all part of the normal course of ageing, there are some health issues that are associated with menopause and the post-menopausal stage of life:
- Decreased levels of oestrogen may lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
- The change in the level of oestrogen may also be a contributing factor to the development of heart disease.
- Tissues of the vagina tend to thin (atrophy), causing chronic irritation, vaginal dryness, and susceptibility to infection.
- Decreased oestrogen level is accompanied with decreased production of collagen and elastin, two proteins responsible for maintaining skin integrity. As these levels decrease, the skin becomes thinner, dryer, and more susceptible to injury.
Women who experience menopausal symptoms and hormonal irregularities before the age of 40 were once referred to as having "premature menopause." They are now said to have "premature ovarian failure" or "primary ovarian insufficiency." Some of the women with these conditions may still become pregnant.
- Hot flashes
- Changes in menstrual frequency and flow intensity (to include heavier or more frequent periods for some)
- Night sweats
- Rapid mood swings ranging from depression to euphoria
- Decreased sex drive (libido)
- Increased frequency or sudden urge to urinate
- Vaginal dryness that can cause pain during intercourse
- Increased bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis
- Higher risk of heart disease (because the levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol in the blood may rise)
Results of the tests that are part of the Menopause profile are typically evaluated together to look for patterns of results. A single abnormal test result may mean something different than if several test results are abnormal. For example, a hormone imbalance may affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and/or ovulation. A health practitioner will consider all the information from the workup to establish a diagnosis.
A healthcare practitioner who is monitoring a woman's hormones will be looking at trends in the levels, rising or lowering over time in conjunction with the menstrual cycle or pregnancy rather than evaluating single values. Test results are not diagnostic of a specific condition but give the healthcare practitioner information about the potential cause of a person's symptoms or status.
See the pages on the individual tests for more detailed information about each one.
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.
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Book a visit
Contact us via our website, email or phone to book your visit. A visit fee will apply depending on your location, regardless of required service(s).
Meet our medic
We come to you on the day your visit is booked. Our medic will have all the required equipment to provide medical care to you and your family at your home, work, or a place of your choice.
Get the results
We deliver results electronically via email, or by post to you and your doctor, if requested. Our medics can liaise with your doctor to help you get the care you need.