Women can undergo early onset menopause even in their late teens, depending on various serious health conditions. Up to 4% of the female population begins menopause at an early age, making it important for all women to be able to detect if hormone fluctuations are affecting them extensively.
Fortunately, there are many different tests available that can help identify the onset of early menopause. With these tests, women can understand their symptoms and find the best treatment options available. Learn more about early menopause tests.
Tests to Identify Early Menopause
While many different symptoms can point to early menopause, it is important to consider that they may be indicative of other health issues. To rule out other possibilities, the following tests may be appropriate:
Young women have to rule out the possibility of pregnancy if they start missing periods or have irregular periods. Studies have shown that 6 - 8% of women with premature ovarian failure can eventually become pregnant.
Thyroid Disease Test
This test checks thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland. When high levels of TSH are found, it indicates a thyroid dysfunction that can cause symptoms very similar to those of early menopause.
Estradiol Level Test
This test is used to check level of estradiol, a type of estrogen, and ovary production. When its levels are lower than normal (below 36), it usually indicates failing ovaries.
Follicule-stimulating Hormone Test (FSH)
Follicule-stimulating hormone (FSH) is secreted by glands in the brain to respond to low estrogen levels. When FSH levels are higher than normal, it can indicate the start of perimenopause, the second stage of menopause.
Doctors might recommend a high-resolution ovarian ultrasound to determine if women have follicles or eggs left in their ovaries. However, two-thirds of women diagnosed with premature ovarian failure still have follicles, which is why this test might not always determine the early onset of menopause. In any case, it is very useful for women who wish to become pregnant to know whether or not their follicles can still release eggs.
This test can help predict if women are likely to start menopause early, especially if there is a family history of premature or early menopause. Research has shown that chromosomes 19 and 20 carry genes that can affect the age of menopause. If an abnormality is detected, younger women may experience early onset menopause.
Because menstrual cycles and menopause are measured according to hormone fluctuations, tests should be repeated at least one month apart for greater accuracy. Once tests are done and early menopause is diagnosed, finding out the specific causes of its onset is the next step to find relief. Click on the following link to learn about early menopause causes.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Office on Women's Health. (2010). Early menopause (premature menopause). Retrieved April 5, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/early-premature-menopause/