Heavy Flooding Periods

Post image for Are Lab Tests Accurate in Testing for Perimenopause?

In Western medicine lab work is king. Blood work can tell you if you’re pregnant or if you’re not. You can determine if you’re diabetic or have kidney disease.

If you have an infection, a high white blood cell count will tell all.

And if law enforcement authorities want to determine if you are legally drunk, blood-alcohol levels can also send you to jail.

So, surely if you’re beginning to exhibit classic symptoms of perimenopause such as erratic menstrual cycles, hot flashes & night sweats, mood swings and insomnia, lab tests will confirm it all – right?

Well,  not exactly.

In fact, a lab test alone is probably the least dependable barometer of the onset of perimenopause. Yet, physicians continue to use them to dismiss women who believe they are in perimenopause,  because the results say their blood work is “normal.”

So, what’s a girl to do?

What Do Lab Tests Look For in Perimenopause?

When your physician administers a blood test to determine if you are in perimenopause, he or she is looking for a hormone that is secreted by your pituitary gland called FSH.

FSH or follicle stimulating hormone, is a hormone that is secreted by your body in response to low estrogen levels. When a woman is in perimenopause, it is assumed she will have low estrogen and progesterone levels, and hence, there will a higher presence of FSH in her blood.

While FSH levels are certainly an indicator of whether you are in perimenopause or not, it should not be presumed that you are or are not, based primarily on high or low FSH levels.

Why Are Lab Tests Alone Not Reliable in Detecting Perimenopause?

Think of lab tests and blood work like a camera. They provide a snapshot of your physiological health at a given point and time. Depending on when the lab tests are taken, you could have several different results.

For example, let’s say you’ve been cycling normally and you begin to enter a rough patch of life and are under a lot of stress.

You’re not eating right, sleeping right and perhaps even drinking a little too much alcohol to help you relax.  As a result, you may not cycle normally. You could even skip a couple of periods.

If you had blood work tested during that time your FSH levels would be high as your body tried to stimulate ovulation. The high FSH levels could indicate perimenopause.

Then, let’s say that period of stress passes and you begin to relax, eat and sleep better, and your cycles return to normal again. However, your estrogen and progesterone could still be out of balance.

You may even experience hot flashes and night sweats. In this scenario, you could be exhibiting classic symptoms of perimenopause and have normal FSH levels because you are cycling normally.

So while lab tests can be an excellent tool to help your physician determine if you are entering perimenopause, because of the variations that can occur at different times, they should not be used exclusively.

How Do I know If I’m in Perimenopause?

If you are in your mid to late 40s, perhaps even your late 30s and you begin to exhibit what you think are perimenopause symptoms, definitely see your doctor for the appropriate lab tests.

However, be mindful that you will need to have more lab tests taken over a period of time, also known as a “panel of lab tests” in order to get a more accurate picture of your hormone levels.

If your physician will not provide that for you seek the opinion of a second or third physician if necessary. Remember, you are the best barometer for how you feel.

If your instincts tell you that you might be in perimenopause, trust yourself.

{ 8 comments }

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Heavy, Flooding, Periods

Thumbnail image for 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Heavy, Flooding, Periods

When the average woman thinks of perimenopause symptoms she usually thinks of the proverbial night sweats and hot flashes. Perhaps even a few mood swings thrown in for good measure. What many do not know, however, and are often surprised to find out, is that heavy, flooding periods with painful cramping and large blood clots are a common complaint for many women [...]

July 21, 2014 CONTINUE READING →

Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed

Thumbnail image for Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness Revealed

It’s been hard for me to move away from this topic. Primarily because physicians like Dr. Hotze, and other healthcare providers, whom I respect, continue to address it. But, also because I think they are shining a necessary light on the issue of faulty testing procedures for hypothyroidism. Of course, the baby-boomer-rebel in me is [...]

August 16, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

Endometrial Hyperplasia: An Over-Diagnosed Condition in Perimenopausal Women

Thumbnail image for Endometrial Hyperplasia: An Over-Diagnosed Condition in Perimenopausal Women

Today’s post is a guest post by Dr. Roger Reichert, a leading expert in endometrial hyperplasia.  Endometrial hyperplasia is a medical term for the abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus which causes heavy, irregular bleeding. This condition is commonly diagnosed in perimenopausal women, and has certainly been a popular topic here at The [...]

August 9, 2013 CONTINUE READING →

The Benefits of Bioidentical Progesterone in Perimenopause

Thumbnail image for The Benefits of Bioidentical Progesterone in Perimenopause

Today’s post is a sponsored post by Dr. Wade Huey, a Houston based physician for Body LogicMD.  Dr. Huey specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  Please find his bio at the end of the post. Perimenopause is the difficult time when hormones start to decline, but they are not quite low enough for a woman [...]

August 20, 2012 CONTINUE READING →

35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Heavy, Flooding Periods

Thumbnail image for 35 Symptoms of Perimenopause: Heavy, Flooding Periods

When the average woman thinks of perimenopause symptoms she usually thinks of the proverbial night sweats and hot flashes. Perhaps even a few mood swings thrown in for good measure.  What many do not know, however, and are often surprised to find out, is that heavy, flooding periods with painful cramping and large blood clots [...]

January 4, 2011 CONTINUE READING →

Estrogen Dominance and Natural Progesterone: A Personal Experiment

Thumbnail image for Estrogen Dominance and Natural Progesterone: A Personal Experiment

I recently turned 53.  By the time many women reach my age and in some cases, even before, they are already menopausal.¹  But, unfortunately, that is not the case for me. This tiny little fact has the power to put me in one very foul mood about every 28 to 36 days. Because, that is [...]

May 12, 2010 CONTINUE READING →