Home Use Tests for Menopause, FDA Approved
Menopause...something that most women face at some time in their life. Now, there is a
"home-use" test for menopause that has been approved by the FDA. As
disappointing and surprising as it may seem, many aspects of the menopause
process remain a mystery to medical science. The medical definition of menopause
is when menstrual periods stop for 12 months as a consequence of the ovaries
shutting down. Menopause is not defined by a blood test, or a urine test, or any
laboratory test for that matter. For the Doctor's View, by Dr. Carolyn Crandall
on this test, please read "Home
Use Menopause Test Kits: Are They Worth It?"
What does this home-use menopause test kit do?
This is a home-use test kit to
measure Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) in your urine. This may help indicate
if you are in menopause
What is menopause?
Menopause is the stage in your life when menstruation
stops for at least 12 months. The time before this is called perimenopause and
could last for several years. You may reach menopause in your early 40's or as
late as your 60's.
What is FSH?
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone produced by your
pituitary gland. FSH levels increase temporarily each month to stimulate your
ovaries to produce eggs. When you enter menopause and your ovaries stop working,
your FSH levels also increase.
What type of test is this?
This is a qualitative test -- you find out whether
or not you have elevated FSH levels, not if you definitely are in menopause or perimenopause.
Why should you do this menopause test?
You should use this test if you want to know if
your symptoms, such as irregular periods, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, or sleep
problems are part of menopause. While many women may have little or no trouble
when going through the stages of menopause, others may have moderate to severe
discomfort and may want treatment to alleviate their symptoms. This test may
help you be better informed about your current condition when you see your
How accurate is this menopause test?
These tests will accurately detect FSH about 9 out
of 10 times. This test does not detect menopause or perimenopause. As you grow
older, your FSH levels may rise and fall during your menstrual cycle. While your
hormone levels are changing, your ovaries continue to release eggs and you can
still become pregnant.
Your test will depend on whether you...
- used your first morning urine,
- drank large amounts of water before the test,
- use, or recently stopped using, oral or patch contraceptives, hormone
replacement therapy, or estrogen supplements.
How do you do this menopause test?
test, you put a few drops of your urine on a test device, put the end of the
testing device in your urine stream, or dip the test device into a cup of urine.
Chemicals in the test device react with FSH and produce a color. Read the
instructions with the test you buy to learn exactly what to look for in this
Are the home menopause tests similar to the ones my doctor uses?
menopause tests are identical to the one your doctor uses. However, doctors
would not use this test by itself. Your doctor would use your medical history,
physical exam, and other laboratory tests to get a more thorough assessment of
Does a positive test mean you are in menopause?
A positive test indicates
that you may be in a stage of menopause. If you have a positive test, or if you
have any symptoms of menopause, you should see your doctor. Do not stop taking
contraceptives based on the results of these tests because they are not
foolproof and you could become pregnant.
Do negative test results indicate that you are not in menopause?
Last Editorial Review: 1/28/2005
If you have
a negative test result, but you have symptoms of menopause, you may be in perimenopause or menopause. You should not assume that a negative test means you
have not reached menopause, there could be other reasons for the negative
result. You should always discuss your symptoms and your test results with your
doctor. Do not use these tests to determine if you are fertile or can become
pregnant. These tests will not give you a reliable answer on your ability to
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov)