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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    When is the best time for a blood test for menopause?

    i am told there is a specific time of the month to have a test done can anyone tell me when this would be?
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  • 2

    Thanks

    Dr Sonia Davison

    Endocrinologist

    Sonia is an endocrinologist at the Jean Hailes Medical Centre and her interests include gynaecological and general endocrinology. She is also a Senior Postdoctoral Research … View Profile

    Menopause is actually the very last period, so women who are still having menstrual cycles by definition will not be menopausal, but may be having symptoms such as hot flushes etc and may be ‘perimenopausal’. A blood test is not often needed to diagnose menopause as health practitioners usually assess this according to when and if periods have stopped, if a woman is around the average age of menopause (50 years) and if she is having hot flushes and other symptoms of low oestrogen. Have a look at: http://www.jeanhailes.org.au/webcast/your-questions-answered as there are a number of questions about blood tests for menopause. Also there are a couple of great fact sheets on menopause and perimenopause at: http://www.med.monash.edu.au/medicine/alfred/womenshealth/info-sheets.html and http://www.jeanhailes.org.au/resources/fact-sheets

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Michael Elstein

    GP (General Practitioner)

    I am an anti-ageing/wellness expert and author of ‘Eternal Health,’ and ‘You have the power.’ I have appeared on radio and television and currently have … View Profile

    I absolutely agree that hormones are variable and that a blood test might not be useful around this time. In my practice I experience many women who are struggling with night sweats, weight gain, fatigue and mood changes around the menopausal transition.  There is some evidence that high cortisol levels might be connected with hot flushes although the research in this area is conflicted.   High levels of cortisol have also been connected with weight gain and depression. There is also evidence that rats who have had their ovaries removed ( I'm really not in favour of this type of research on animals) experience an improvement in all of the metabolic parameters associated with weight gain, once treated with melatonin.
      Research on progesterone shows that this hormone can reduce the symptoms of hot flushes http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21651797 and that it might be a breast friendly hormone with regard to possible cancer risks, although this is a complicated issue.
     I have found that, despite the acknowledged fluctuation in hormone levels, using salivary assays to get some sort of baseline handle on hormone status especially with regard to nighttime melatonin and cortisol levels, where blood tests are of no help and are in fact impractical and inappropriate, can be a useful starting off point for assessing  necessary hormone treatments.  
     At time of consultation assessing nutritional status can also be very helpful.

       

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