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Diagnosis

Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms, family and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may have blood tests, a pelvic exam, and a pap smear. Natural menopause is usually diagnosed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. Diagnosis of menopause is often based on the presence of menopausal symptoms, and in some cases, changes in hormone levels.

Your health care provider will also consider whether there are any other possible causes for your symptoms. In most cases, hormone tests are not needed. However, if your health care provider is concerned about your hormone levels, you may be given a blood test that measures the level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your blood. FSH is produced by your pituitary gland and stimulates your ovaries to produce estrogen. As your estrogen levels decline.

Your pituitary gland produces more FSH into your blood in an attempt to stimulate more estrogen. When blood levels of FSH consistently rise to certain levels (usually >40) , it is likely that you have reached menopause. More than one FSH test will be needed to confirm menopause. You should not be taking birth control pills when you have an FSH test, because birth control pills contain hormones that will affect the test results.

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