There are some tests that can reveal hormone levels. Here are what they are, when they are useful and what they can reveal to you in menopause and perimenopause.
The medical and scientific information contained in this article has been carefully checked by our medical staff
In this post we will talk about:
- How are hormone levels measured?
- Measuring hormone levels: what are the tests to do and why
- Measuring hormone levels: when it is useful to do it
- Measuring hormone levels: what they can reveal to you in menopause and perimenopause
- Measure hormonal levels: when there is a relationship with Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
Hormonal changes are completely physiological from a certain age in a woman’s life. Menopause, in fact, is not a sudden event but a natural process that passes through a long and gradual transformation of the organism that is preparing for the end of the fertile age .
Some women may experience the first changes in hormone levels even before perimenopause, especially if there is good confidence in their body. In any case, the most evident sign of a changed balance between estrogen and progesterone is the menstrual irregularity which could appear starting from 42/45 years.
Other signs, often annoying and uncomfortable but well known and attributable to menopause, can be:
- hot flashes and night sweats
- sleep disorders
- mood swings, irritability and stress
- intimate troubles of various kinds.
So knowing “at what point” your body is, it could also be important to learn to bring your feelings back to a normal picture. For these reasons, when the gynecologist thinks it’s time, it can be important to measure hormone levels.
How are hormone levels measured?
To get a clear picture of the hormonal situation, a simple blood sample is enough. A useful and important exam in menopause and to be repeated regularly also for:
- find out how your endocrine system is changing ahead of menopause
- know a lot about your general health
- prevent any risk factors that menopause could increase
Measuring hormone levels: what are the tests to do and why
To know the hormone levels, a normal blood sample is sufficient that examines a series of specific factors and which you will find indicated in the reports with technical acronyms and scientific terms that at first glance may even appear unknown to you.
In reality, these are fundamental hormones for your general balance which in this phase of your life are very important indicators to pay attention to.
Contact your trusted gynecologist or look for a gynecologist specialized in menopause in your city : it will be the task of the specialist, after a careful evaluation, to prescribe the examinations to undergo. Here’s what they might be:
· FSH, follicle-stimulating hormone
It is the hormone that stimulates the maturation of follicles in the ovaries. FSH is the key indicator of your fertility status. As the ovaries begin to work less towards the permanent cessation of their activity, the level of FSH produced by the pituitary rises .
The benchmarks are these:
- FSH between 10 and 30 mIU / ml : indicates that you are still fertile but the ovary begins to fatigue
- FSH between 30 and 40 mIU / ml: indicates that in all probability you are no longer fertile, therefore you are close to menopause.
LH, luteinizing hormone
It is the hormone produced by the pituitary that stimulates the production of estrogen and progesterone and regulates ovulation . For this reason, during the month its values are variable depending on the phase of the cycle in which your body is (they rise close to ovulation).
Like FSH, the LH value also increases as your body begins to change to prepare for menopause. The difference, however, is that luteinizing hormone levels take longer to change so LH is a later indicator of approaching perimenopause and menopause.
Do you know in detail the meaning of the terms premenopause, perimenopause and menopause? Learn more about their meaning with this article that explains it to you in a simple way .
The benchmarks for the LH are these:
- LH between 0.4 and 105 mIU / ml (depending on the phase of the cycle): indicates that you are of childbearing age
- Stable LH between 15 and 62 mIU / ml : indicates that something is changing in the production of estrogen and progesterone and consequently in the regularity of your ovulation.
E2, Beta Estradiol
It is an estrogen produced by the ovaries, therefore its values give the measure of ovarian function . This is, in turn, an important indicator of fertile life in general and of the cyclical phase in particular, but also of the approach of menopause. Contrary to what happens for FSH and LH, E2 Beta Estradiol values decrease in view of the end of the fertile age.
The benchmarks are these:
- E2 between 15 and 350 pg / ml (levels are widely variable during the menstrual cycle): indicates that you are of childbearing age
- E2 between 40 and 400 pg / ml: indicates that you are in the premenopausal phase
- E2 <20 pg / ml: indicates that you are in menopause.
It is a steroid hormone that is the indicator of ovulation or not and prepares the uterus for the possible implantation of the embryo. Measuring progesterone values is essential for assessing fertility .
Progesterone also regulates sexual functions during the monthly cycle and is the main “culprit” of PMS. As menopause approaches, its levels drop dramatically , which is why headaches, irritability, insomnia or other ailments that closely resemble those that perimenopause brings with it can break out.
The benchmarks are these:
- Progesterone between 0.20 and 27 ng / ml (depending on the phase of the cycle): indicates that you are in the fertile life
- Progesterone <0.15 – 0.80 ng / ml: indicates that you are in menopause.
Measuring hormone levels: when it is useful to do it
As we have said, menopause is the culmination of a long and gradual process that can involve body and psyche with different manifestations from woman to woman and, above all, in different eras. For these reasons there is no “age for menopause” but this comes to each woman in individual times and ways.
Genetic factors make the difference: the age at which you enter menopause is often more or less the same between mother and daughter or between sisters, or there may be familiarity. The same applies to the early menopause or a late menopause .
We make this premise to explain to you why there is no precise age to measure hormone levels : it is the gynecologist who can recommend it and it is good, therefore, to continue to make regular visits , at least once a year, especially in the years of ‘approaching menopause and after the cessation of fertile life. The specialist can determine if it is necessary to investigate the state of your hormone production , also on the basis of any disorders that you will report and to understand if these may be related to menopause.
Measuring hormone levels: what they can reveal to you in menopause and perimenopause
Hormone levels are a litmus test because certain values are a sign that things are changing in your body. In this regard, the measurement of hormone values in perimenopause and menopause can reveal a series of consequences at an intimate level (due precisely to the drop in hormones) that it is good to investigate for:
- keep under control any ailments and discomforts
- prevent possible pathological conditions that can be linked to menopause.
An established estrogen deficiency can, for example, identify any changes and modifications at an intimate level and explain:
- vaginal dryness
- intimate itching
- intimate burning
- recurrent intimate infections
- increased frequency of urination
- changes in the skin and mucous membranes
Measure hormonal levels: when there is a relationship with Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy
As we have said, knowing the status of your hormone production is essential not only to know if and when your body is changing to prepare for the end of the fertile age but also to monitor your state of health.
In fact, due to the estrogen deficiency linked to the approach of menopause, the vaginal tissues can become thinner. Less hydrated naturally due to a physiological reduction in natural lubrication , these become drier and less elastic, consequently more fragile. From this condition derive discomfort and intimate annoyances that can make relationships difficult but also have an impact on the psychophysical well-being of the woman .
If you notice these ailments, together with the others of the intimate sphere that we have already described above, the first and most useful action to take is to make an appointment with the gynecologist , the only one who can identify an adequate treatment for you. There is much that can be done to manage Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy but, as it is a chronic and progressive condition, early diagnosis is essential. In this sense, it is up to you to take the first step.