FSH Levels & Menopause

Written by cindi pearce
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Follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) can, if tested, indicate where a woman is in regarding to perimenopause. If a post middle-aged woman hasn't menstruated for a full year, she can more or less consider herself fully menopausal, so there may be no need, at that time, to determine her FSH levels. However, during the time leading up to perimenopause, a test can determine exactly how far into "the change" a woman is.

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Characteristic

According to a study done by M.G. Metcalf, R.A. Donald and J.H. Livesey, titled "Pituitary-Ovarian Function in Normal Women During the Menopausal Transition," it was concluded that high levels of FSH and LH (luteinizing hormones) are characteristic of the perimenopause, which is the transitional phase ultimately resulting in menopause. High levels of these hormones may show up before the sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, drop. The loss of the sex hormones is caused by the ageing ovaries.

What FSH Does

<p>Epigee.org explains that FSH are what prompts a woman's body each month to ovulate. FSH levels normally rise each month during preparation for the menstrual cycle. This encourages the egg follicles to be released from the ovaries. The eggs then travel through the Fallopian tubes where they prepare to be fertilised. Once the egg is released, a woman's body knows that it's either time to prepare for a pregnancy or produce a menstrual period. At this point oestrogen levels rise and FSH levels drop.

Heading Toward the Finish Line

One of the very first signs of menopause can be high FSH levels, which indicate that your body is trying to ovulate but isn't being successful. A "normal" FSH level is between 5 and 25 mIU/ml. If your levels are higher than 25, you may well be heading into perimenopause. If your levels are higher than 50 mIU/ml, you are fully menopausal.

Taking the Test

<p>Menopauseatoz.com advises that if you are no longer menstruating, and you want to be tested because you are not sure if you are menopausal or if your lack of periods is due to something else, finding out what your FSH level may be helpful. The test will let you know if your ovaries are beginning to fail, which indicates perimenopause.

Take the test twice, it recommends, about one month apart. This test can be extremely helpful to a young woman who has stopped menstruating. She could be in premature menopause and, if she is, she needs to find out what she can do to postpone the onset.

Disagreement

Not all of those in the medical community are not in complete agreement about the reliability of hormonal blood tests, so keep this in mind if you are being tested. Some physicians believe that FSH testing has little value, according to a report done by Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research in Clayton, Victoria, Australia. Other physicians believe that the tests are firm indicators of what phase a woman's body is in.

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