A new form of medical testing might help predict when a woman will experience the phenomenon known as menopause.
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural life stage that all women who reach their late forties or early fifties will experience. During this process, a woman’s reproductive organs, such as the ovaries, decrease production of vital sexual hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These chemicals are crucial to a woman’s ability to bear children. When the process is complete, she will no longer experience menstrual cycles or be able to conceive.
Menopause might impact each woman in different ways. That said, there are certain common physical and emotional manifestations women might experience: irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, irritability, wild mood swings, concentration difficulties, insomnia, and diminished libido (sex drive).
In certain instances, menopause might begin at an earlier age, which might be precipitated by a host of medical conditions.
Testing for Menopause’s Onset
Despite all that is known about menopause, predicting when the phenomenon will begin can be challenging and lead to a period of uncertainty for women approaching their late forties and early fifties. That said, recent developments might aid medical professionals in their quest to provide their female patients with more concrete answers.
Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is the American government’s watchdog agency that monitors the safety and efficacy of consumable items and prescription medications and therapies, approved the MenoCheck examination as a means of testing for the onset of menopause.
The MenoCheck test measures systemic concentrations of the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). Reproductive health specialists opine that AMH levels provide a solid indication of ovarian production. These professionals further suggest that this test, when conducted in coordination with a woman’s age, offers a fairly reliable indication of the onset of menopause.
Typically, the MenoCheck test is performed on younger women reaching the age of peak fertility. However, the exam is also administered to women who might be noticing menopause symptoms as a means of helping them determine what stage they are in and how much more time they might have to endure the associated undesirable manifestations.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Additionally, several other factors might play a part in the development of menopause. Healthcare professionals suggest that practicing a healthy lifestyle such as receiving an adequate amount of sleep, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding potentially detrimental habits like smoking, drinking alcohol excessively or using drugs may delay menopause’s onset.
That said, many nutritionists and physicians opine that diet might be among the most critical factors determining when menopause will strike. A team of English researchers concluded that the consumption of healthier food might actually delay menopause’s onset for up to three years. Some examples of this food include fish, fish oils, legumes like beans, in addition to products containing higher quantities of nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D.