Claire Forster - Naturopath

 

I Think I'm in Peri-menopause.  Do I Need a Blood Test?

If you are over the age of 45 and think you might be in peri-menopause, it's generally not considered necessary to get a blood test done to confirm this.  Although your oestrogen levels will be decreasing, the decrease doesn't occur at a steady rate and there are likely to be fluctuations - sometimes considerable fluctuations.  So while it's technically possible to measure oestrogen levels, the fluctuations mean that the results (especially from a single blood test) may not be particularly insightful.

Claire Forster, Naturopath - Do I need a blood test?

During peri-menopause, your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) will also change.  As oestrogen levels decrease, more FSH is produced in an attempt to stimulate more oestrogen production.  However the same day-to-day variability that applies to oestrogen also applies to FSH, so again, testing FSH during peri-menopause isn't generally considered necessary.

There are however situations where oestrogen and/or FSH blood tests might be used.  For example, if a woman prior to the age of 45 is experiencing menopausal like symptoms, blood tests could be used to help rule out or confirm early menopause.  But in general, if you are 45 years or older and are experiencing some of the common signs and symptoms of peri-menopause, then hormonal blood tests aren't required - confirmation can usually be made simply by the presence of these signs and symptoms.

In certain situations, blood tests other than oestrogen or FSH might be recommended e.g. blood glucose (or HbA1c), thyroid or iron status etc.  These tests aren't linked directly to peri-menopause and are generally only required if, after assessment of your symptoms, it's determined that specific testing is required.


Key Points:

  • After the age of 45, hormonal blood tests are generally not required to confirm peri-menopause.
  • After the age of 45, common signs and symptoms associated with peri-menopause are usually considered adequate for confirming peri-menopause.
  • Hormonal blood tests might be used in specific circumstances e.g. to confirm early onset menopause.
  • In some situations, other blood tests may be recommended - this usually only occurs if symptoms suggest that specific testing is required.


References:
BPAC NZ Limited (2013). Reproductive hormones: The right test, at the right time, for the right patient.  Retrieved from: https://bpac.org.nz/BT/2013/February/02_hormones.aspx
Sarris, J., & Wardle, J. (2010). Clinical naturopathy: An evidenced-based guide to practice.  Sydney, Australia: Elsevier.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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