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What is a Menopause Panel?
The Menopause Panel is a series of tests used to assess hormone levels essential to the regulation of menstrual cycles in female patients, and can be useful in helping to determine whether or not a patient is beginning menopause. The tests utilized in the Menopause Panel not only evaluate a female patient for her hormone levels, but also provide a workup of a patient’s general health in order to provide more comprehensive results on other factors which may be related to symptoms of menopause.
Who May Need a Menopause Panel?
Women who are between the ages of 40 and 60 who have not had a period for at least a year, or who are exhibiting other signs and symptoms of menopause, are most likely to be prescribed a Menopause Panel by their physician. Outside of missed periods, some of the signs related to menopause include trouble sleeping, mood swings, hot flashes, and cloudy thinking among others. It’s important to discuss any of these symptoms with your physician to help them determine if a Menopause Panel is right for you.
What Should I Expect from My Menopause Panel?
A Menopause Panel begins with drawing a blood sample from a patient in order for it to be examined by a medical laboratory. The ranges for each test, while common among most laboratories, may be variable depending on those your doctor has set specifically for you. As with any set of hormone tests, your Menopause Panel results should be thoroughly discussed with your physician, who may have ranges tailored to your particular age and health status. For more information on the signs and symptoms of menopause, continue reading below.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstruation stops permanently.
Menopause is usually a gradual process, but it can occur suddenly in some cases. The ovaries begin to produce less hormone. The reduced amount of hormone causes menstrual periods to become irregular. Eventually they stop completely. Menopause can also suddenly occur when the ovaries are surgically removed.
Most women go through menopause between ages 45 and 55. In the US the average age for menstrual periods to stop completely is 51.
What are the Symptoms of Menopause?
Hormonal changes can cause physical and psychological symptoms before and during menopause. Symptoms may occur for a few weeks, a few months, several years, or not at all. The symptoms may come and go, or they may occur regularly.
These physical signs and symptoms are common during menopause:
- irregular or no menstrual periods
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- changes in your sleep patterns
- muscle and joint pain
- dry skin
- palpitations (awareness of a fast or irregular heartbeat)
- vaginal dryness, sometimes causing discomfort or pain during sex
- grayish vaginal discharge with a bad odor
- more frequent need to urinate, or leakage of urine
- more frequent minor vaginal and urinary infections
- loss of desire to have sex
Menopause usually occurs at a time in your life when other dramatic changes take place. Some of these changes may include loss of parents, adjustment to children growing up and leaving home, becoming a grandparent, retirement, or career changes. These changes, in addition to the changes in your body, may result in psychological or emotional stress. Psychological symptoms of menopause may include:
- tearfulness and irritability
- less desire for sex
- lack of concentration
- more trouble remembering things
How is Menopause Diagnosed?
Your health care provider will ask about your medical history and examine you. You may have blood tests. A pelvic exam and Pap test may show the effects of less estrogen in your body. If you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months in a row, you are probably in menopause.
What do menopause tests measure?
Menopause tests measure women’s hormone levels, specifically estrogen, FSH, and LH. These tests look for a decreased estrogen and an increased FSH or LH as indicators that the body has gone through the natural processes of menopause.
Who should have menopause testing?
Menopause testing is considered for women who are more than 45 years old and have not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months or women experiencing symptoms of menopause or perimenopause like:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful sex
- Trouble sleeping
When to get tested during the month?
The menopause test will be most accurate if done in the luteal phase of your cycle, which corresponds to days 19-21. It's important to avoid testing mid-cycle, as your hormones will be naturally higher and, therefore, create misleading hormone peaks.
What is considered mid-cycle when testing for menopause?
Mid-cycle refers to ovulation, which refers to the moment an egg is released from one of the ovaries. This process occurs roughly midway through the menstrual cycle. So, if you have a 28-day cycle, this will occur approximately on day 14.
How often should menopause testing be done?
There are no specific guidelines for how often a woman should be tested for menopause. However, some women choose to have bloodwork done annually or even more frequently if they suffer from symptoms of menopause.
How to test for estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA for menopause hot flashes?
Estrogen and progesterone are essential for healthy reproduction in women. The ovaries and adrenal glands produce these hormones, but the hormone DHEA can also produce them. Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone because of natural aging or surgical removal (hysterectomy). This hormonal imbalance leads to:
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Other symptoms associated with menopause
Do I need to visit a doctor?
Nope. You don't need a doctor's visit to get a test with us.
How do I get my results?
You'll get your results via email as soon as they are available. We will notify you via SMS as well. You can also see them at any time in the future right in your dashboard where you can easily share them with your professional and compare them side by side with future tests.
Does my lab prescription expire?
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