Perimenopause is the transition women go through as their bodies begin to transition to menopause. It literally means “around menopause.” It can be concerning for some women because the symptoms of this transitionary phase can mimic the symptoms of menopause.
This transitionary process is something that can start several years before menopause actually begins. Most women will experience the start of perimenopause in their 40s, but it an occur in a woman’s 30’s or even in earlier in some circumstances. The perimenopause blood test is used to determine if a woman has entered into this transitionary phase.
Perimenopause will continue to occur once it has started until a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs. For most women, this transitionary phase will typically last between 12-24 months. It has been known to last for up to 10 years, however, for some women. A woman is considered to have transitioned from perimenopause to menopause when they have not had their monthly period for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.
The perimenopause blood test is used to check hormone levels to determine if this transitionary phase has occurred.
When To Ask a Doctor About the Perimenopause Blood Test
Women who enter into the perimenopause transitionary phase may experience symptoms which are similar to menopause. This can include hot flashes, tenderness in the breasts, more severe monthly cycles that include heavier bleeding, fatigue, trouble sleeping, mood swings, and changes to their urinary habits. These symptoms can come in any combination, but all women will experience at least one symptom once they enter into a perimenopause state.
It is important to note that women who have entered into this transitionary state may have irregular periods. Other health conditions can also cause irregular periods to occur, however, so a visit to a medical provider is necessary to rule out a more serious condition. Speak to your doctor if your bleeding is heavier than normal, contains blood clots, there is spotting between periods, or you have spotting happen after intercourse.
Bleeding can occur for many reasons. Oral contraceptives are known to cause spotting and bleeding as well.
What Do My Perimenopause Blood Test Results Mean?
The perimenopause blood test is used to determine hormone levels within the blood. If this test is positive, then this indicates a woman is transitioning toward menopause. Continued testing may be recommended by a medical provider depending on a patient’s health and lifestyle habits.
It is important to note that there isn’t a specific result from the perimenopause blood test which will indicate that a woman has entered this time in her life. Estrogen levels can rise and fall unevenly throughout this transitionary phase. A pattern of uneven results from multiple tests is usually necessary for a diagnosis to be achieved.
Women who are in perimenopause can still become pregnant. If you do not wish to become pregnant, then speak with your medical provider about the benefits of continuing contraceptives or take measures at home to prevent a pregnancy.
Perimenopause always ends with a woman transitioning into menopause. There is nothing that can delay this process. Once diagnosed, the goal of treatment is to ease the bothersome symptoms a woman may be experiencing so her lifestyle isn’t interrupted because of this physical change.
How To Treat Perimenopause When It Occurs
One of the biggest issues women face in perimenopause is the hot flashes. Low-dose oral contraceptives may be prescribed by a medical provider to reduce or eliminate this particularly bothersome symptom.
Activities which enhance a woman’s well-being are also strongly recommended by many medical providers. This means finding time to exercise on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, trying to get more sleep on a nightly basis, and to quit smoking if necessary.
Dryness during intercourse can also be bothersome for some women and their partner. Speak with your medical provider about what options may be available to you in this area.
Mood swings that are particularly bothersome can lead to future mental health concerns for some women. If you are concerned about this potential symptom of perimenopause, then talk to your doctor about how anti-depressants, counseling, and other options could be added to your treatment plan.
The goal of speaking to your medical provider should be to control bothersome symptoms so you can continue to chase your life’s goals. Use this guide to speak with your doctor about your concerns so that a treatment plan which addresses all of your needs can be established to make this happen.