What is menopause? Menopause is the exact opposite of puberty. When one shuts down at about 40 years of age at menopause, the other had started at 14 years of age with puberty. ‘Menopause’ as a word is Greek, meaning ‘month’ and ‘to end’. In medical terms menopause is confirmed when a woman does not get her period for 12 consecutive months.
How do you know you are on the road to menopause?
Puberty will come to all girls between 12 and 14 years of age, and menopause will come to all women starting from 38 years onwards anytime. There are some important mile stones on the road to the menopause. These come in different order in different women but they will definitely be there.
There will hot flashes whereby a woman will feel like she is on fire without regard to the temperature outside. It could be ice cold outside or sweltering hot, the hot flushes can strike anytime. There will be wild mood swings and irritability coupled or followed by depression bouts. There will also be a general feeling of dryness, itchiness of skin and a sudden rise in appetite. Hot flushes will be accompanied by night sweats where you will experience total drenching in sweat.
None of the above is exactly a menopause test, but it will tell as accurately as any menopause test that it is on its way.
Is there a test called menopause test?
Yes, in fact there is a test called ‘menopause test’ which will confirm to a medical practitioner that the women has reached the post-menopause stage. By the way, this would be the right time to explain that there is no menopause stage. You have the pre-menopause stage when the ovaries are shutting, but have not exactly finished doing so, and you have the post-menopausal stage where the ovaries have totally pulled down the shutters. There is no other stage in between.
Hence, the menopause test will actually test for the presence of follicle stimulating hormone or the FSH which is produced by the pituitary gland. The FSH usually increases slightly just before the periods which actually goads the ovaries to produce eggs. In the test the amount of FSH will be measured and if it is found in very high doses it is an indication that the woman is menopausal. However, this is not a conclusive test.
There are a number of other similar tests which check for the content of hormones in the blood or urine of a woman which when combined together with the external symptoms will give a conclusive deduction. The menopause test is actually a series of tests which together point in the same direction. The medical practitioner who reads the test will be able to tell you whether you are or not going through menopause.