With this decrease in hormone production, women approaching menopause can experience the following changes- insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, changes in libido, weight gain, changes in hair/skin, the list goes on and on. For some women, these symptoms can be really severe and negatively affect their quality of life. For others, they barely notice the difference.
So, do I need any extra lab tests or hormones checked to confirm this? The answer is most likely no. If you are approaching menopause and having symptoms consistent with menopause, then you are probably in menopause. If you were to check hormones- they would all be low because your ovaries have now decreased production of them as you approach the menopause. There are no guidelines that recommend this testing, and often insurance does not cover routine hormone testing. So, you could easily be out $500 for a blood test.
Will checking hormones help guide my provider to providing me the right dose of hormones? The answer to this as well is no. We titrate the dose until your symptoms are better. Some women require only a small amount of hormone replacement and some require a larger dose to help with their hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. If you are 55, your hormones across the board will most likely be low, and knowing this does not help me determine what dose of hormone replacement is best for you.
If you are approaching menopause and have noticed severe hot flashes, moodiness or other symptoms, talk to your provider about options. It is important to know both the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy as well as the best option for you.