Detecting Menopause Through Testing - Ellen Dolgen
Close this search box.

Detecting Menopause Through Testing

Your journey through perimenopause and menopause  may be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. When you think of menopause, you probably envision night sweats, insomnia, exhaustion, hot flashes, and weight gain. Let’s rethink the daunting menopause journey as an opportunity to function at 100%. If Dorothy was looking to go home and the Cowardly Lion was looking for courage, you are following the yellow brick road to hormone happiness, no matter what flying monkeys get in your way!

First, it’s helpful to understand that perimenopause is the symptom-laden 6-10 years before you reach menopause. You are in menopause when you have been without a period for 12 consecutive months. The average age of menopause is 51.

You might we be wondering, “How do I know if I am in perimenopause or menopause?”

I have put together a list of tests that I found helpful during my perimenopause and menopause. In addition to your yearly Pap smear and mammogram, speak to your menopause  specialist to determine which tests are important for your particular perimenopause and menopause trek. Good news, most can be done with one blood draw. Always ask your specialist’s office for a copy of your lab results and keep them in a notebook or folder as you might need to refer back to them during the course of your journey. Everyone operates differently. It is important to understand that your test scores are only half of the story—the other half is how you feel. I put together a Menopause Symptom Chart. Be sure to take your filled-out chart with you to your specialist’s appointment. This will enable your specialist to successfully fine-tune your personalized path to “Emerald City.”

Hormone panel: If you’re still menstruating, have your hormone panel (blood test) done during the first three days of your period.

DHEAS: DHEA sulfate is a hormone that easily converts into other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. This adrenal hormone triggers puberty and is of the highest concentration of the hormones in the body. DHEAS is the sulfated form of DHEA in the blood. While DHEA levels fluctuate throughout the day, DHEAS blood levels are steadier and more reliable.

Estradiol is the main type of estrogen produced in the body, secreted by the ovaries. Low levels can cause memory lapses resulting in sticky notes aplenty, anxiety, depression, uncontrollable bursts of anger, sleeplessness, night drenches and much more.

Free and Total Testosterone: Free testosterone is unbound and metabolically active, and total testosterone includes both free and bound testosterone. In women, the ovaries’ production of testosterone maintains a healthy libido, strong bones, muscle mass and mental stability.

FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the growth of the ovum (the egg and surrounding cells that produce ovarian hormones). This test can help indicate whether you’ve entered menopause. However, the suggested normal ranges need to be examined along with your Menopause Mondays Symptoms Chart so that your specialist can properly evaluate the test results. There is no one-size-fits-all correct test result. What is normal for your best friend, sister or mother may not be normal for you.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Test A blood test that estimates the number of the eggs in the ovaries.

Progesterone is a hormone that stimulates the uterus and prepares it for pregnancy. It also regulates the menstrual cycle, and low levels of progesterone can cause irritability. Results will vary depending on when the test is done.

Thyroid workups usually include checking your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). If there is an irregularity with your TSH, you may need to get your Total T3 and Free T4 checked as well. (Free means it won’t be affected by your estrogen status, not free of charge!) Remember that the symptoms for perimenopause and menopause  and a thyroid disorder can be very similar.

Other important tests for women in perimenopause and menopause:

Bone density is a measure of calcium and other materials in your bones. Also called a DEXA scan, the bone density test can determine whether you have or are susceptible to osteoporosis. When you enter perimenopause and menopause, the decline in estrogen can trigger a rapid loss of bone mass, so it’s important to check. The test measures the strength of the hip and spine. It takes only minutes and exposes you to very little radiation.

CA-125 (cancer antigen 125) is a protein best known as a blood marker for ovarian cancer. It may be elevated with other malignant cancer, including those originating in the endometrium, fallopian tubes, lungs, breasts and gastrointestinal tract. Be sure to talk with your specialist about the pros and cons of this test, as the normal value range varies among laboratories and the CA-125 test can result in false positives.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the body. It makes hormones, skin cells, and digestive fluids. Cholesterol levels change in perimenopause and menopause. Too much cholesterol can build up artery plaque, narrowing blood vessels and potentially causing a heart attack. A cholesterol panel usually includes checking your HDL (high-density lipoprotein or the good cholesterol), LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and Triglycerides (molecules of fatty acids), and gives you your total cholesterol/HDL ratio. You’ll need to fast for this test, so don’t eat or drink for 12 hours beforehand.

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) is the vitamin that helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, keeping your bones nice and strong.

Knowing and understanding these levels in your body, in conjunction with tracking your symptoms on your chart, will help you and your specialist determine the right approach to finding hormone happiness. If you are suffering from sleeplessness, hot flashes, or an emotional roller coaster and your specialist looks at your blood tests and tells you, “You are fine. You are not in perimenopause or menopause,”  do not go home and suffer!  It may be time for a new Menopause Specialist!  Always trust how you feel—you know your body better than anyone. Once you finally reach the end of the yellow brick road, you’ll find you had the courage, knowledge and love for yourself to get the help that you deserved all along!

Remember: Suffering in silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN!



9 thoughts on “Detecting Menopause Through Testing”

  1. Tonight, I searched for sore/lumpy breasts during perimenopause and ended up on your site. It took me three years to realize that I am going through perimenopause (I’m now 43)! I rarely know whether my periods are coming or just stopping by for a visit, I’m an emotional wreck, I have absolutely no memory and my husband thinks that I am a complete lunatic. I am going to be up all night voraciously reading through all of your posts! Thanks for the fabulous blog, Ellen!

    1. Melissa, I am so glad that you found me! To expedite your reading…..take a look at the three pages of FAQs. Read the ones that my resonate with you. Also, if you go to the Menopause Symptoms drop down…you can click on the symptoms that you are experiencing and find some helpful tips and tools. You can also skim through the blogs I have written here. My goal is to help you realize that you are NOT ALONE and to equip you with the tools so that you can become your own health advocate. You can always email me at [email protected] for more personalized support! Good luck and don’t give up until you feel better. My motto is: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

  2. Thank you for building a place I can come to & feel “normal”! I am 40, married, mother of 3, grandmother of 3 & still not certain I’m not just going completely crazy!!! Labs a year ago said no menopause & GP diagnosed PMS & anxiety… I like to think my “PMS” would have been diagnosed before FORTY & not 1 single antidepressant/antianxiety med has helped even a little… They actually make it all so much WORSE 🙁 If you have time to address a concern, I have a big one: I started having occasional hot flashes ( usually late evening), soaking night sweats & sleep problems (sometimes not falling asleep all night) right before I turned 39. Just before turning 40, things took a strange turn… It feels like severe hot flash (without sweat) meets sudden intense adrenaline rush, that can quickly progress into a panic attack. Im sure I don’t need to outline all the physical symptoms of this cumulation. Its HORRIFYING & happens any time of day, most often I have days back to back where its just non-stop & I feel like I’m going nuts. I started taking a magnesium supplement (750mg day) & the accompanying heart palps/flutters are completely gone! The flush-n-rush as I call it seemed to be nearly gone too… For a little more than a month… Until this week… Back with a vengeance! I’m wondering if maybe this is occurring with my cycle but due to hysterectomy (still have ovaries) I don’t have a monthly flow therefore I don’t have that as a “gauge” for when things are happening. Have you ever heard of this kind of “hot flash”? The regular ones completely stopped when these started. The only 2 things that ease my misery in the moment: focus on reading & .25mg Xanax… Which I am not OK with for many reasons but especially for the stigma of taking that stuff. I’m worried that maybe something else may be causing this but all my labs are good. Any insight as to whether or not these torturous events could in fact be perimenopause related would be hugely appreciated. I’ve never talked to anyone else with a similar experience & I feel Aline & crazy.

    1. Cheryl, I think it is time for you to find a good menopause specialist!!! Someone who is up the latest information. Check out the specialists on my Menopause Specialist Directory. There are lots of options for hot flashes. I have just posted my new FREE eBook on my website. Download the book here. Go to Chapter 4. Do not give up until you find a healthcare professional that actually helps you! You do not need to suffer! Good Luck and keep me posted!!!

    2. Cheryl, I’m post-menopause (five years now) and seem to be having more emotional imbalance than when I was perimenopause. I, too, suffer from panic attacks and know exactly how you feel (they started back up a few months ago). It’s utterly terrifying! During an attack I know I’m going to stop breathing and die unless I get medical attention. So you can imagine what it’s like on an airplane, or driving beautiful back country roads, where there’s no hospital or medical personnel nearby. And now I can’t seem to ease them with my normal coping skills. I just read about Macafem, an herbal therapy that helps pre, during and post menopause. I’m going to give it a try. I’m hoping it will balance my hormones (or what’s left of them if anything) enough to kick the panic attack’s butt out of my life! I just found the site which explains panic attacks to a tee (along with other symptoms). You are definitely not alone. I just saw my primary care physician today and she said many of her patients are experiencing panic attacks and more severe anxiety than usual. Hang in there! And I hope you can find relief soon!

  3. I just got my blood results, and I’m confused. It says my FSH and LH are very high, and according to my PC, my results indicate I am post menopausal. What is LH? Does being on Mirena for the past four years or the time of the month the blood is drawn skew any of these results? Prior to Mirena, I bled heavily 3 weeks a month for a year and had several small fibroids. The Mirena removed the obnoxious ovulation and period bleeding and the fibroids, and 7 iron transfusions got my system back in order.

    1. I would circle back with your doctor on the impact of the Mirena on your blood test results. I am not sure about that one. I know if you are on the pill, the numbers are not valid. LH stands for
      Luteinizing hormone. It is produced by the pituitary gland and causes the dominant follicle to release its egg from the ovary (ovulation).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get The Latest Updates


No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Social Media


On Key

Related Posts

The Surprising Role of Testosterone

Discover the vital role of testosterone in women’s health during menopause. Learn about easing symptoms, forms of testosterone, and the menopause care gap. Educate yourself to advocate for the care you need and deserve.

There is Nothing Wrong With the Word Vagina

Are you comfortable with the word, vagina? Explore the history and significance of this word, and why using the right terms is crucial for our health. Let’s talk openly and empower each other!

Hormone Therapy Guide

So, you’ve hit perimenopause, and the symptoms are hitting you hard: sleepless nights, irritability, night sweats, hot flashes, weight gain, and a disappearing libido. Not exactly a party, right? It’s time to consider hormone therapy (HT), but before you dive in, let’s clear up some misconceptions and explore your options.

Scroll to Top

Special Pre-Sale Sign-Up For

Say goodbye to confusion and hello to empowerment!  

I’ve got you!