How Doctors Can Confirm That You're Entering Menopause

Menopause occurs later in a woman's life when her ovaries no longer release eggs each month, according to Healthline. Although menopause can occur between the ages of 40 and 60, it typically occurs around age 51.

Menopause is probable if a woman hasn't had a period for more than six months, but it's only confirmed when she doesn't have a period for a full year. However, symptoms such as thinning hair, dry skin, hot flashes, and weight gain might appear years before menopause, which is called perimenopause.

During perimenopause, the body begins to produce less estrogen, which can lead to bone loss (via Mayo Clinic). Perimenopause can also raise your LDL cholesterol levels, which puts you at greater risk for heart disease.

Although each woman might experience different symptoms of perimenopause, you may want to keep a record of your symptoms so you can talk to your doctor about treatments if necessary (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). You should also note the date of your last period and report any menstrual irregularities, according to Healthline.

Some tests to determine menopause

According to Healthline, your doctor can check the pH of your vagina to help determine whether or not you're in menopause. A woman in her reproductive years will have a pH of 4.5, but a woman in menopause will have a pH of around 6.

A blood test can also check your levels of estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone since they both change during menopause. Because hypothyroidism can mimic symptoms of menopause, your doctor might check your thyroid hormones to rule out a thyroid condition.

Combined with these tests, your doctor could test for levels of the anti-Mullerian hormone, which can help determine whether a woman has had or might soon have her final menstrual period. The Food and Drug Administration approved this test so that a woman can begin taking measures in preventing bone loss and cardiovascular disease risks associated with menopause.

According to Cleveland Clinic, symptoms such as hot flashes generally go away after menopause, but the low hormone levels still pose a risk for osteoporosis and heart disease. By staying active and boosting calcium through a healthy diet, you can help reduce the health risks associated with postmenopause.