A blood test and doctor’s consultation to look for the signs of the menopause.
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when the ovary produces less oestrogen hormones which causes menstruation to cease. Other hormonal changes take place including increased amounts of gonadotrophin and androgen hormones. The menopause occurs most commonly between 45 and 55 years of age but can occur later or much earlier.
A reduction in bone density is more pronounced 2 - 5 years after the menopause which may lead to osteoporosis. The blood fats increase which may result in atherosclerosis thereby increasing the risk of circulatory disease and stroke. If symptoms are severe Hormone Replacement Therapy may be recommended.
Who is this consultation & tests: This test is for women looking for early signs or treatment of the menopause.
Symptoms of the menopause include hot flushes, lethargy, sleep disturbance and vaginal dryness. The severity of menopause symptoms vary. Some women have few menopause symptoms and others require treatment such as Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT.
Tests can include but are not limited to:
• Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). High levels of TSH indicate an underactive thyroid while low levels indicate an overactive thyroid. In primary pituitary failure, a low TSH will be associated with an underactive thyroid.
• Thyroxine (T4) is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Most T4 is bound to carrier proteins in the blood - this test measures the level of T4 which is free, or unbound, circulating in your blood. High levels of Free Thyroxine can indicate an overactive thyroid while low levels can indicate an underactive thyroid.
• Follicle Stimulating Hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and is important for women in the production of eggs by the ovaries and for men in the production of sperm. Levels of FSH rise in women as egg production declines, therefore raised FSH is an indicator of the onset of the menopause and a measure of ovarian reserve. Raised levels of FSH in women indicate reduced egg supply whereas low levels can indicate that you are not ovulating or are pregnant. Levels of FSH in men rise in age, but can
also indicate testicular damage and reduced sperm production. Low levels of FSH are detected when men are not producing sperm.
• Luteinising Hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland and is important for male and female fertility. In women it governs the menstrual cycle, peaking before ovulation. In men it stimulates the production of testosterone. Raised LH in women can signal that you are not ovulating, that you are menopausal or that your hormones are not in balance (as with polycystic ovaries). Raised LH in men can signal that the testes are not producing enough testosterone.
• Oestradial is a female steroid hormone which is produced in the ovaries of women and to a much lesser extent in the testes of men. It is responsible for the female reproductive system as well as the growth of breast tissue and bone thickness. Oestradiol declines with age, culminating in the menopause when the ovaries stop producing eggs. Raised oestradiol in women can cause acne, constipation, loss of sex drive and depression as well as raising the risk of uterine and breast cancer. Oestradiol can also be raised in men due to too much fat (which is oestradiol producing) or in relation to testosterone levels which have declined with age. Raised oestradiol can cause the growth of breast tissue, the loss of libido and infertility in men. Low levels of oestradiol in women can lead to osteoporosis, problems with the menstrual cycle and fertility as well as fatigue and depression.
The appointment can take up to 30 minutes and the charge is £220