We started on the blog talking about the various symptoms of peri-menopause. Things like fatigue, weight gain, hot flashes and losing your motivation. Then we moved on to health risks you need to be aware of. Loss of muscle and bone, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes for example.

The underlying theme of it all is that we each undergo our own unique experience of peri-menopause.

The transition is different for all of us.

In order to reduce any unpleasant side-effects you may be experiencing, it’s imperative to know exactly where you stand. This also helps to prevent the onset of health conditions later in life,

Knowledge is power.

As such, today I thought we’d talk about the wide range of tests that are available. While it is likely that you may only need some of them, it’s good to know what is available. Understanding what they entail and what the results mean makes the process less stressful.

As a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I am uniquely positioned to be able to offer you both standard medical testing and naturopathic investigations. While often overlooked, they reveal vital information as to what is really going on inside of your body.

I like to break it down into 3 sections to make it as easy as possible to understand.

A comprehensive medical history is always the first step with all of my patients. It is particularly important during peri-menopause as this will guide us on which tests need to be undertaken.

Blood and urine tests, and physical examinations and scans make up the other two groups. So let’s dive in!

Medical History

Understanding your full medical history is absolutely vital.

By piecing together your history we have a comprehensive starting point.

It can give us the source and type of pain you may be experiencing if you have arthritis for example.

Past infections may be still be lurking causing fatigue and lethargy.

Exposure to industrial chemicals if you’ve lived on a farm or worked as a hairdresser for example can also impact your current health. Even if it was years ago!

Blood & Urine Testing for Peri-Menopause

By now, most of us are familiar with blood and urine testing. They are straight forward procedures that don’t take long.

They give us a detailed snapshot of what is going on in your body at that particular moment in time.

We usually begin with tests that give us an overview of your general health.

Things like a full blood count and lipid markers (cholesterol and triglycerides). But also vitamin D, fasting blood sugars and a full thyroid panel.

It’s essential to have a full thyroid panel taken, not just TSH.

A full thyroid panel includes the amounts of active and stored thyroidhormones, along with checking for any antibodies.

Antibodies are white blood cells that mistakenly attack the other cells in your body wreaking havoc.

Thyroid antibodies are one of the leading causes of underactive thyroids in women of every age.

We also often look for signs of inflammation using markers such as c-reactive protein and homocysteine.

The health of your adrenal glands is of the upmost importance throughout peri-menopause. They are intricately involved in hormone production, and have close ties with your thyroid and immune function.

Your DHEA-S and cortisol levels, measured periodically throughout a 24 hour period give us great insight into your stress-coping mechanisms and your ability to produce adequate hormones.

On the subject of hormones, as women, we are literally full of them!

As with puberty, peri-menopause is a time when they can run rampant. So, it’s imperative we take a detailed look at them.

Testing your oestrogen metabolites shows how well balanced your hormones are, and if they are out of order, we then know precisely where.

Checking progesterone and testosterone levels is also important. Their ratios to oestrogen play a significant role in the many symptoms of peri-menopause.

Your rate of bone degeneration can be measured with the Osteoporosis risk assessment urine test. If you have a family history of cancer, there are several markers which we can look for at this time if necessary.

I’m always talking about how a healthy liver is your best defence for a smooth journey through menopause. So of course we are going to check how its going!

A functional liver profile can show us how well your liver is performing its detoxing duties. This ultimately affects your circulating hormone levels.

Physical Examinations & Scans

Moving on to our final category, I usually begin with a general examination.

We look at things like your BMI, blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, fat distribution, hair loss and so on.

A pelvic examination to check for vaginal thinning and atrophy at your next Pap smear and breast examination may also be recommended.

Bone density testing to establish a baseline, and to assess your risk of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia may be recommended.

If you or your family have any history of heart disease, then an electrocardiogram may be prudent. A colonoscopy if you are experiencing any significant digestive issues may also be suggested.

Next Steps

As you can see, there are many investigations we can choose from to give us a precise picture of your individual health, and your unique journey through peri-menopause.

I’d love to help you uncover your story and write your healthy future.

By combining both conventional and functional medical practices with nutritional medicine, I am uniquely positioned to offer you the greatest support and care.

I am truly passionate about helping women achieve the optimal peri-menopause experience.

Please click the button to find out more about how I can support you through this special phase of your life.

Reference:

Hechtman, L. Clinical Naturopathic Medicine: Revised Edition. [Wiley Australia]. Retrieved from https://wileyanz.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780729582261/

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