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Is There a Blood Test for Menopause?

It seems as though you can go to the doctor's and get a blood test for just about anything these days--is there a blood test for menopause?  The answer is "Well, sort of".  In general, the diagnosis of menopause is a clinical one, made when a woman has not had her period for 12 months.  When the diagnosis is unclear, however, or when a woman enters menopause early, a test to measure "Follicle-Stimulating Hormone or "FSH" may help. The FSH test may also be help women who have had a hysterectomy, but still have their ovaries.

FSH is produced by the pituitary gland.  As you approach menopause, your FSH levels increase as your estrogen levels decrease.  The higher your FSH level, the more likely you are to be in menopause.

The catch is that during perimenopause, which can last several years before menopause, your FSH levels will fluctuate as your estrogen levels fluctuate--from month to month and even from day to day.  In this case, your doctor may need to do more than one FSH test to have reliable information. 

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Created: 12/28/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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