How is my menopause diagnosed?

YOUR Diagnosis

Understanding your situation when you're going through menopause can be very confusing. There are so many terms being used, so many symptoms to deal with and so many changes in your body. What's going on here?


Lets try simplify it a bit:


The different stages of menopause:

The term "menopause" relates to the time after your last menstrual period (It literally means pausing or stopping of your menstruation). However, your symptoms may start several years before your last period (this is called perimenopause) and may continue for a long time after you've stopped menstruating. Once you've gone one year without a period, you are in post menopause. Some symptoms can continue for years and years while you are post-menopausal.

You may have had a hysterectomy at any time during your reproductive life. This doesn't mean you're now menopausal (unless you've had your ovaries taken out as well).


Testing for menopause:

There are no blood tests or saliva tests available that can accurately diagnose you as menopausal, perimenopausal or post-menopausal. This is because your hormones may be fluctuating on a day-to-day basis so these tests will only reflect a single snapshot in time.


So how is menopause diagnosed?


The best diagnostic tools of menopause are:

-        your symptoms

-        your age, and

-        your medical and gynaecological history



The most common symptoms of menopause can be divided into two groups: those that are due to oestrogen deficiency and those that are due to progesterone deficiency.


Oestrogen deficiency symptoms include:

- Hot flushes

- Night sweats

- Dry skin

- Vaginal dryness

- Anxiety

- Feeling emotional

- Fatigue


Progesterone deficiency symptoms include:

- Irritability


- Overheating at night

- Weight gain

- Poor sleep

- Headaches

-Sweet cravings


A third hormone deficiency, Testosterone, will present with:

- Low sex drive

- Low energy

- Low motivation



Most women experience their symptoms between the ages of 45 and 60. Symptoms may start earlier, and this is called early menopause (40-45) or Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (<40). Many women experience symptoms beyond the age of 60 and occasionally into their 70s and 80s.

Some lucky women breeze through menopause without even noticing!!



 Your medical and gynaecological history:

Some important things to share with your doctor include:

- did you suffer with PMS (premenstrual syndrome)?

- have you had endometriosis?

- a history of fibroids

- any sensitivity to contraceptive pills

- difficulties with your weight


Is it really menopause or could it be something else?

Many conditions can present with menopause symptoms. Its important not to miss something else. As such it is important to provide as much information as possible to your doctor so that a proper assessment can be made.

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Benefits beyond treating the symptoms of menopause:

The introduction of the right combination of treatment therapies will go far beyond just treating your presenting symptoms. There is a myriad of other benefits when you are prescribed the right treatments:

-        Protection against osteoporosis

-        Prevention or treatment of vaginal dryness

-        Improvement in sex drive (libido)

-        Protection against heart disease

-        Protection against bowel cancer

-        Possible protection against Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Menopause?

Menopause means “pausing of the menses”. Although this literally means that your menstruation has ceased, it rather reflects the changes occurring in your ovaries - your ovaries have become less functional! As a result of this change, there is a significant disruption in the production and balance of your three major sex hormones: Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone.


How is Perimenopause and Menopause diagnosed?

You are considered menopausal if you have not had a period for 12 months or more. Up till that point, if your periods are irregular and you are symptomatic of a sex hormone imbalance, you are likely to be perimenopausal. There are no blood tests that definitively give you a diagnosis of menopause or perimenopause, however an elevated FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinising Hormone) is suggestive of being in menopause.

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