Some women often get to the point of being uncertain whether menopause or pregnancy is the cause of their period problems.
The reason is because there is a central symptom common to menopause and pregnancy, that is, absent menses. But should this be a difficult question to resolve?
During the last years of perimenopause in which a woman approaches the complete cessation of menses, menses become irregular and may occur after 2 to 4 or sometimes even 6 months. Remember that you are not in menopause until you do not have menses for 12 consecutive months.
Also, during these periods of irregular menses, you are still fertile and liable to pregnancy. If appropriate measures are not taken, you may have a late pregnancy. Some women therefore get into this perimenopausal period and after having missed a period, they get somewhat mixed up if the absent menses is part of the perimenopausal process or due to pregnancy.
This question is hardly ever a difficult one to deal with. The first and most important step to settle this question is to do a urine pregnancy test, not a menopause test! If you are uncertain whether menopause or pregnancy is involved, just start with a pregnancy test. There are very accurate and sensitive early pregnancy tests now available for women. It is that simple. If the pregnancy test turns out negative, wait for about 5 to 7 more days and repeat it. If you are too disturbed and anxious to wait for those lengthy 5 to 7 days, please visit your doctor for a more sensitive blood test for early pregnancy.
The reason why this should be the first step is because playing around your symptoms or age or last sexual intercourse etc do nothing other than leave you still in a suspense. The only way to settle if you are pregnant or not is to do a urine home pregnancy test. Another crude method is just wait for the passage of time. Pregnancy will surely show up in the next few weeks!
You may read about the very early pregnancy signs if relevant.
There is a US FDA-approved home menopause test that could be used by women. Normally, the diagnosis of menopause does not require any testing. Just watch and wait. However, some women usually want to get a lab test in situations like this to clarify some doubts. Most of these tests detect Follicule Stimulating Hormone(FSH) which is high is perimenopause. Almost every woman in perimenopause will have a high FSH level. You will surely have a positive test if you are already in perimenopause and this will not help in resolving your question.
Beware that the onset of perimenopause is not the onset of infertility. If you were normally fertile during your reproductive years, consider yourself fertile until menopause actually occurs, that is, no menses for 12 consecutive months. You may need to use your contraceptive methods especially during those year of irregular perimenopause cycles.
Should the possibility of pregnancy arise, just get a urine pregnancy test and settle the question. If the first one is negative, repeat it in 5 to 7 days. If it is negative, you can be certain you are not pregnant. Go ahead and take pregnancy precautions then.
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