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Understand Your Menopause

Diagnosing menopause

How is perimenopause diagnosed?

Perimenopause is often diagnosed based on symptoms alone, especially in women over the age of 45. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not recommend blood tests for measuring Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels in this age group.

Can perimenopause be diagnosed based on symptoms alone?

Yes, perimenopause can be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. Women experiencing symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and other common signs of hormonal changes can usually self-diagnose perimenopause. However, consulting a healthcare provider can be beneficial for receiving support and managing symptoms effectively.

Should I see a healthcare provider for a perimenopause diagnosis, or can I self-diagnose?

While self-diagnosing perimenopause based on symptoms is often sufficient, seeking guidance from a healthcare provider can be helpful. They can provide further information, address any concerns, and offer support in managing the symptoms. Understanding the changes happening in your body and making necessary lifestyle adjustments can be facilitated with the assistance of a clinician.

Can menopause be diagnosed during perimenopause, or only after it is complete?

Menopause is officially diagnosed retrospectively, after there have been no menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months. During perimenopause, when hormonal fluctuations are occurring and periods may become irregular, it is not possible to definitively diagnose menopause. The cessation of periods for a continuous year indicates that menopause has been reached.

Can perimenopause be diagnosed if I have had a hysterectomy?

If you have undergone a hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus, the absence of a uterine lining makes diagnosing perimenopause based on changes in menstrual patterns impossible. However, perimenopause can still be diagnosed based on symptoms alone. The physical and emotional signs commonly associated with perimenopause can provide a clear indication of hormonal changes, even in the absence of menstruation.

Can menopause be diagnosed if I have irregular periods?

Yes, over the age of 45, we manage the symptoms. However, it’s important to note that irregular periods can be a symptom of perimenopause. Menopause is diagnosed based on the absence of periods for a specific duration rather than the regularity of periods.

Can menopause be diagnosed if I am on hormonal contraception?

If you are on hormonal contraception, it can hide or minimise the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. In such cases, it is advised to continue hormonal contraception until the age of 55 years.

Can menopause be diagnosed if I am currently pregnant or breastfeeding?

The menopause is a state where the childbearing years are over. During perimenopause, where hormone levels are fluctuating, women could still get pregnant. Anecdotally, many women have thought they were going through menopause but found out they were pregnant.

Are there any conditions or medications that can mimic menopause symptoms?

Yes, there are certain conditions and medications that can mimic menopause symptoms. Conditions include pregnancy, hormonal contraception (progesterone-only or combined hormonal), endometriosis, fibroids, certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), thyroid conditions, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), adenomyosis, fibromyalgia, gynaecological cancers, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, among others. Medications like antidepressants, antibiotics, and cancer treatments can also cause similar symptoms. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to differentiate between these conditions and menopause.

Are there any conditions or medications that can mimic menopause symptoms?


Some STIs
Thyroid conditions
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Gynaecological cancers
Multiple sclerosis
Sjogren’s Syndrome
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus


Progesterone only contraception
Combined Hormonal Contraception
Cancer treatment

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Understand your menopause

Manage your menopause



Understanding your menopause

Our specialist information on Menopause is designed to help you better understand the changes your body is going through and to help you make the right decisions when it comes to managing it.