Menopause is something that all women know to expect, but understanding and predicting when it will happen has always been a mystery
While women can guess their age of menopause based on their own family history, they have never been able to predict when it will happen for them.
This is important knowledge, as it could affect many different life decisions regarding fertility, marriage, and career goals. That is why it is so groundbreaking that a team of researchers at the University of Colorado have discovered that measuring a woman’s levels of anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) can help to predict when she will have her final period.
AMH is a hormone that is vital in the early development of a foetus, but it also can help predict how many eggs a woman has left in her body. Women as born with a finite number of ages that then decreases as a woman ages, and so it can be an indicator of menopause.
Currently, women can only attempt to predict when they might be approaching menopause through vague and inaccurate metrics, such as mood swings, hot flushes, sleep disturbances, and erratic periods. This research could help countless women more effectively plan their fertility and their career goals, as well as avoid invasive medical treatments (such as a hysterectomy) for painful periods.
Lead researcher Professor Nanette Santoro explains. “Establishing a way to measure time to the final menstrual period has long been the holy grail of menopause research. Using bleeding patterns or previously available tests to predict the time to menopause can only help us narrow the window to a four-year period, which is not clinically useful.”
She continued by stressing how useful these findings can be for women. “Women can make better medical decisions with the more complete information offered by new, more sensitive anti-Müllerian hormone measurements.”
The research included blood tests that were taken from 1,537 women between the ages of 42 and 63. Their AMH levels show that it is possible to predict is they will have their final menstrual cycle within 12 to 24 months.
Co-lead author Dr Joel Finkelstein, of Massachusetts General Hospital, continued.
“Researchers have long thought AMH would be a superior marker of the time to menopause, but tests haven’t been sensitive enough to detect the very, very low levels that occur in the year or two leading up to menopause. It took a cohort which followed the same women year after year from well before menopause until well after, to get the kind of data necessary to be able to demonstrate the predictive value of AMH.”
Would an accurate test that could predict menopause be helpful in your life? Let us know what you think.