Predicting the Start of Menopause: Would You Want to Know?

Cynthia Dermody
7

hands of a clock up closeMany of us are too young to even think about menopause. In fact, many of don't want to think of it at any age because of the implications: It means we can't have babies anymore and we're old, not necessarily in that order.

But if you tuck your emotions aside for just a minute, and consider it in relationship to planning our families, it becomes a lot more relevant and important in our early lives. Knowing when we might officially stop menstruating could give us a clue as to when we might start to lose our fertility (about a year before menopause starts) and when we will totally run out of eggs.

Unfortunately, no one knows when that will happen right now ... but doctors have their fingers crossed for something currently in the works. Researchers in the Netherlands are working on a simple blood test, for a hormone called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), that could help women predict when they will enter menopause, and therefore how to set their fertility timetable. If there's anything the Dutch know, it's hormones. And soccer. Not necessarily in that order.

Currently, the only test to predict a woman's fertility is an ultrasound in which doctors count the number of follicles, which house premature eggs, on a woman's ovary. The more she has, the better her chances of conceiving. But ultrasound images are sometimes cloudy. A blood test that measures for a hormon found in the follicles would be much more accurate, doctors say.

Would you want to know when you'll enter menopause or would you like to avoid knowledge of that fact as long as possible?

 

Image via zoutedrop/Flickr

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