Some medical tests and treatments are available for women who are experiencing perimenopausal symptoms. Consult your doctor for advice on whether they make sense for you.
Blood Hormone Levels: FSH and LH
Blood Hormone Levels: Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone
- This test measures the amount of FSH and LH levels in your blood; levels are higher during menopause.
- The drawbacks of this test are: (1) it does not measure the level of estrogen, and (2) during the five or ten years of perimenopause, FSH and LH levels fluctuate widely.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
- This test measures the total amount of estrogen, progesterone and/or testosterone in the bloodstream.
- Unfortunately, the test measures primarily inactive, protein-bound hormones.
Preferred Testing Methods
- An estimated 20 million women take some kind of hormone replacement therapy.
- On the pro-side, it is thought to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, relieve hot flashes, improve sexual function and control mood swings.
- The drawbacks are side effects such as bloating, stimulated fibroid growth and an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clots or having a stroke.
The following are two less common but more useful tests, according to Dr. Northrup, that measure your hormonal status.
- Salivary hormone testing
- Blood tests for free (unbound) hormone levels