As any woman who is currently going through menopause knows, it can be difficult to navigate through all the different stages. Technically speaking, there are three stages: first perimenopause, which actually comes in two halves and lasts for roughly three to four years; then a shift into actual menopause; and finally post-menopause. Finding out which of those stages you’re experiencing at any given time has largely been a waiting game, with women tracking the decline of their menstruation pattern while battling pesky issues like hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.
All of that time you spend hoping you're getting closer to saying goodbye to your symptoms only makes them feel that much worse when your body tricks you. Thankfully, that guess work might be a thing of the past with a new test that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 24, 2018.
The press release from the FDA explains how the PicoAMH Elisa diagnostic test measures the amount of Anti-Müllerian hormone (or AMH) in a woman’s blood to determine which state of menopause she's experiencing. AMH is a specific hormone produced by the ovaries that can indicate whether a woman has in fact reached her final menstrual period or if she has more than five more years to wait. This will not only save menopausal women from some of the annoying anxiety of feeling left in the dark about their symptoms, but also help their doctors prevent the serious health issues that they become more vulnerable to.
Courtney Lias, PhD, from the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, explains: “This test, when used in conjunction with other clinical assessments and laboratory findings, can help inform discussions about preventative care, such as ways to help prevent loss in bone mineral density or to address cardiovascular disease, both of which are known to increase after menopause.” Clearly, your whole body can benefit from making sure you and your doctor know as much about your menopausal state as possible, so it might be a good idea to bring up this test at your next physical.