Can a Blood Test Predict Menopause?

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Women looking to know when they will start to go through menopause will be happy to know that doctors are currently working on a test that predicts the probable time of menopause for women as young as 20.

The easy blood test, to be available in the next three years, can give results, as close as four months, to women who are looking to know how long they will continue to produce eggs and thus may have a baby.

Lead researcher Dr. Fahimeh Ramezani Tehrani of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, who took blood samples from 266 women aged between 20 and 49, studied the anti-mullerian Hormone (AMH) in their blood that is key to the maturation of eggs in the ovaries. The lower amount of AMH was linked to less number of eggs in the ovary and thus this was used in predicting the probable date when the woman will approach menopause. Of the group 63 women approached menopause and the test was accurate within four months average. It was only in rare cases where the prediction was not accurate.

Dr. Tehrani says, “In modern society women try to finish their education, get a job and take good opportunities and postpone pregnancy until later. Every day, I have women asking me if they are at risk of early menopause. At the moment, we don’t have an answer to this question. Maybe this study can provide an answer.’

If the method continues to be reliable the test will be offered as a home testing kit available at the drugstore and according to British IVF specialist Dr. Sturat Lavery it gives a more positive aspect to birth control. But he also warned that this test could not be used as a definite signal of conceiving as there could be other aspects affecting that, like their partner’s fertility and the women’s health.

Dr Dagan Wells, of the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Oxford, said the result was very exciting but he added ‘Even if it does turn out to be a very good estimate of the age of menopause, fertility is dramatically reduced in the years leading up to that. ‘  If menopause occurs at 50 or 52, fertility is really going to be over five years before that.

The test could help women plan their pregnancy knowing the time they will approach menopause or also save eggs for future use. – Atula, Staff Writer

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About the Author

Atula is a writer, traveler and a nature-lover. She is also mom to a boy who seems to have inherited all her creative genes. When Atula is not busy making up stories with her son, she writes for numerous magazines, websites and blogs. She is also working on her site on endangered species called indiasendangered.com.

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