Diagnosing Menopause

When does a woman know she is in menopause?

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.

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.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on December 4, 2017

Sources

SOURCES: Up to Date: "Clinical Manifestations and Diagnosis of Menopause." National Institute on Aging: "Menopause."

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