Diagnosing Menopause

In the majority of cases, your age and the nature of your symptoms will alert you to the start of perimenopause and then menopause. Many women find that they start developing symptoms associated with perimenopause, the precursor to menopause, during their mid-late 40's and there are some tell-tale signs to look out for including:

  • hot flushes and night sweats
  • irregular periods
  • changes in periods, such as heavier or lighter bleeding or longer or shorter periods

You may also find that you experience mood swings, anxiety, general aches and pains and disturbed sleep when you are going through menopause.

Generally speaking, there is no specific test, which is used to confirm that you are going through menopause; however, in some case, a doctor may order hormone tests to determine the levels of specific hormones in your body. This may be the case if premature or early menopause is suspected, your symptoms are different to those usually linked to menopause or you have had a hysterectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the womb). Your hormone levels can be measured using a blood test, which involves taking a small sample of blood, usually from a vein in your arm.

The nature and severity of symptoms varies between individuals and some women have very few issues when they go through perimenopause and menopause; however, some women really struggle. If you have severe symptoms or the menopause is having a negative impact on your normal day to day life, arrange to se your GP; there are lots of different treatments, which can help to ease and reduce symptoms and help make life easier.

The menopause is defined as 12 months without a period in women aged over 50 and 24 months without a period for women aged under 50 years old; this relates to cases when there is no other reason for menstrual bleeding to stop. If there may be another cause, tests may be ordered to rule out medical problems.


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