FSH, or follicle stimulating hormone, values climb as a woman reaches menopause. The same levels can also climb because of normal menstrual cycle. Home testing for menopause requires taking a urine test similar to a home pregnancy test, but instead of measuring HCG, it measures FSH levels.
According to sales literature, FSH testing is a viable option for women who believe they are entering menopause. Experts disagree. Fluctuation FSH levels can render a positive test result for menopause in women who are nowhere near menopause age. FSH levels rise in the blood during menstruation and right before a menstrual cycle. Menstrual cycles continue in the body even if uterine lining is not shed. This means a woman can have a full menstrual cycle without bleeding for the month. This would lead her to believe she is going through menopause and the urine FSH test would confirm that.
Home testing for menopause can also include keeping a journal of various changes in life – this is why menopause is called the Change of Life. Common changes include cessation of menstrual cycles, decreased vaginal moisture, and mood swings. Many women also complain of depression, anxiety, and weight gain during menopause.
There is only one definite means of diagnosing menopause and it is used by medical professionals all over the world. When a woman ceases to have menstruation or a monthly period, for at least 12 months in a row, she is considered in menopause. For various reasons, including extreme weight loss, extreme exercise, and eating disorders, even this determining factor can lead to a false diagnosis.
A Common Checklist for Women Entering Menopause
Women who feel they may be entering menopause can test at home by filling out a simple check sheet. Here are the common signs for menopause:
- I am within the normal age range of 45 to 55 for women entering menopause.
- I have not had a menstrual cycle or period in 12 months or more.
- I am suffering from hot flashes.
- I feel less aroused and rarely want to have sex.
- I suffer from vaginal dryness.
- My mood swings are more pronounced than ever before.
If a woman checks the first and second option on the list, she could be well on her way to menopause. The remaining four items on the checklist are common symptoms, but ones that may not be reported by all women entering menopause. Some women feel more sexually active and others never suffer from hot flashes.