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What menopause and FSH test kits don’t tell you

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | 0 comments

In one’s 40’s and 50’s, and even to some degree in one’s 30’s, the ovaries are more susceptible to external influences such as stress, diet, and toxins. You may not cycle in perfect textbook fashion. Or you may have regular cycles but not release an egg (called an anovulatory cycle).

If you took a blood or urine test during that kind of cycle, your estrogen and progesterone levels may be imbalanced and your FSH levels would test normal. You may be having night sweats and hot flashes but still having periods and your FSH levels would be normal but your estrogen and progesterone levels out of balance. Or let’s say you’ve had a few skipped periods, in which case you would have high FSH as your body tried to stimulate ovulation. In both cases a menopause test kit would indicate that you were menopausal.

But then let’s say you start eating better, the sun comes out, you’re more relaxed, and you start on some good supplements. Your regular periods return and your FSH level dips back down to normal. A test of your FSH levels taken then would indicate that you were not in early menopause.

So how can you be both? You can because perimenopause is not a static thing. We move in and out of it depending on our hormonal balance. Women will find that they can be a little bit menopausal now and then, flowing in and out of it for 10 or more years.

This is why we have not found the menopause tests to be very useful. The results are very changeable. They test for black or white and a woman’s hormonal balance is grey.


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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