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Conditions in Depth

This page contains the basic information about Menopause And Perimenopause .

Return to the Menopause And Perimenopause Main Condition Center

Diagnosis

For most women, the diagnosis of menopause is made based on a woman's description of her symptoms and the ending of her menstrual periods. Laboratory testing is not usually needed.

Because women can still become pregnant while they are perimenopausal, doctors may do a pregnancy test when a woman's periods become irregular, infrequent or light. In some cases, a blood test for levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) may be recommended. FSH levels are normally high in menopause, so high FSH levels can help to confirm that a woman is in menopause.

At the time of menopause, doctors often recommend a bone density measurement. The test result sometimes will detect early osteoporosis. More often the result is used as a baseline to compare rate of bone loss in the future.

Another test is endometrial biopsy. An endometrial biopsy is an office procedure in which a tiny piece of endometrial tissue from inside the uterus is taken and examined under a microscope for signs of cancer. This test may be done when a woman is having irregular, frequent or heavy bleeding, but it is not routinely recommended as a test for menopause.

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Created: 4/27/2004   |   Last Modified: 8/21/2006
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2006 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.