Hormone May Predict Age at Menopause
Researchers Say Anti-Mullerian Hormone Levels May Be Accurate Predictor of Menopause Age
April 30, 2008 -- A hormone that is used to help assess the potential for pregnancy in assisted reproduction might prove to be an accurate predictor of a woman's age at menopause, a study shows.
If early findings are confirmed, researchers say anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) levels may predict age at menopause within one or two years in women as young as age 30.
Researcher Jeroem van Disseldorp, MD, tells WebMD that the early study shows the hormone to be a more sensitive predictor of age at menopause than chronological age alone.
Van Disseldorp and colleagues from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands developed a predictive model based on AMH levels in fertile women.
The next step is to see if the women actually reach menopause when the model says they will.
"Right now it looks like AMH is quite sensitive for determining a woman's age at menopause within one or two years," van Disseldorp says. "But we can't say this with certainty yet."
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AMH and Menopause
Anti-Mullerian hormone is undetectable in girls until they reach puberty, and after that levels of the hormone appear to increase until around the age of 30.
AMH levels in the blood reflect the number of small follicles present in a woman's ovaries. These follicles enable reproduction by ensuring monthly ovulation.
Low levels of AMH in the blood are indicative of poor ovarian reserve. Because of this, AMH measurement is increasingly being done in women seeking medical treatment for infertility.
The hormone may prove to be an even more useful marker of fertility in this setting than the most widely used assessment, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), because unlike FSH, AMH levels do not appear to fluctuate with the menstrual cycle.
In an effort to examine the hormone's potential as an early predictor of menopause, van Disseldorp and colleagues measured AMH levels in 144 healthy, fertile women between the ages of 25 and 45, and the researchers used this information to estimate the change in mean levels of the hormone with age.