Follicle stimulating hormone is the main indicator of blood tests to tell us that a woman is menopausal and an FSH level, and there is no specific level, but an FSH level over, say, 25, is a good indicator that a woman is post-menopausal or almost post-menopausal. Now the interesting part is that these will fluctuate. And so if there’s one ovulation, that whole feedback loop goes back to what it was doing before and the FSH starts to fall. So if we have a lab test that tells us the FSH is in a post-menopausal range and an ovary just decides to ovulate, which can happen around this timeframe, when menopause is happening, then the FSH will fall. The ovary has obviated and the woman could potentially get pregnant, which is rare, but can definitely happen if there’s no birth control in place. And so that FSH level that a doctor may take once is only an indicator of that moment in time or that cycle.
So FSH is not something that we will often require or even request as physicians to tell you whether you’re in menopause. In fact, you have a better idea of whether you’re having perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. If you’re having hot flashes, night, sweats, insomnia, or trouble sleeping, if you’re having vaginal dryness, vaginal or bladder symptoms, if you’re having some mood instability, that’s unusual, or if you’re having some trouble with your memory or brain fog, all of those symptoms are really good indicators that you’re perimenopausal, approaching menopause, and your blood level is only a number and not necessarily required to tell you whether you’re post-menopausal.