A woman is in menopause if she has had no menstrual periods (menses) for 12 months and has no other medical reason for her menses to stop. If a woman knows she is not in menopause but is missing periods, she should consult her health care provider.
Not all women experience symptoms prior to or following menopause, which is defined as the time when a woman has naturally ceased having menstrual periods for one year. If menopausal symptoms occur, they may include hot flashes, night sweats, pain during intercourse due to vaginal dryness, and increased anxiety or irritability.
Are hormone levels or other blood tests helpful in detecting menopause?
Because hormone levels may fluctuate greatly in an individual woman, even from one day to the next, they are not a reliable indicator for diagnosing menopause. Even if levels are low one day, they may be high the next day in the same woman. There is no single blood test that reliably predicts when a woman is going through menopause, or menopausal transition. Therefore, there is currently no proven role for blood testing regarding menopause except for tests to exclude medical causes of erratic menstrual periods other than menopause. Menopause is diagnosed based on the lack of menstrual periods for 12 months. The average age a woman in the U.S. stops having her periods is 51.