New technology allows women to test their hormones at home and more accurately predict when they will enter menopause.
As women, we do not know when our menopause is going to start, how long is it going to last or what phase of menopause we are currently in. This lack of information can cause stress and anxiety for some women. Furthermore, when we start to experience symptoms we don’t necessarily associate them with menopause. Newson Health Research and Education recently conducted a survey of almost 5,000 women, and found that doctors misdiagnose menopausal symptoms as something else more frequently than we might think.
Newson Health explained that a third of women they spoke to waited at least three years for their symptoms to be correctly diagnosed as menopause symptoms, while 18%, shockingly, visited their primary care doctors six times or more before receiving the help they needed!
Without hormone testing, menopausal women are often incorrectly diagnosed with conditions such as depression, fibromyalgia, migraines, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue. Healthcare professionals often do not considered menopause or perimenopause as the underlying cause for their symptoms. Another problem is the lack of menopause training for healthcare professionals. In fact, one study of OB/GYN residents found that fewer than 1 in 5 polled reported receiving any formal training on menopause.
What effect does a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis have on women?
Consistently having your menopause symptoms misdiagnosed means a delay in treatment, which can have repercussions on your health. Without a diagnosis, many women are unable to get access to HRT (hormone replacement therapy), which can help ease symptoms and reduce the risk of certain conditions. During menopause, there’s an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and even dementia. But taking HRT can lower the risk of many of these common diseases – namely heart disease and osteoporosis. (It’s important to be aware that HRT isn’t for everyone – and there are a range of many other menopause treatments available too.)
How do I know if my symptoms are menopause related?
Luckily, we now have a more accurate hormone blood test to help determine what phase of menopause you are in.
A test that can predict the time to menopause has been sought for many years. The ability to predict menopause accurately and precisely has long been the “Holy Grail” of menopause research. Using previous (now outdated) methods, the FMP could only be predicted within a window of approximately 4 years, a time window that is too great to be useful to women or doctors.
In October 2018, the FDA approved at-home diagnostic test to help determine a woman’s menopausal status. Measuring the AMH levels in women's blood can help estimate when a woman will undergo menopause. Using a new, more sensitive AMH test it is now possible to predict menopause within a window of 12 to 24 months in late-reproductive aged women, a huge improvement over previous methods.
At Mina Health, we use a highly sensitive test that measures levels of AMH that many other hormone tests can't pick up. AMH is the hormone that tells us how many eggs you have remaining in your ovaries. These test results, combined with a thorough review of your health history and menopause symptoms, allow us to tell you when you're likely to enter menopause, and what you can do now to make your transition smoother.
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