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Every woman eventually reaches the period ofmenopause. Perimenopause is a period of about four years before menopause, whenthe symptoms of menopause slightly and gradually begin to show. When a woman enters menopause, she undergoes many changesin her physical and psychological state. Since there are certain changes inhormone levels in her body, it affects her body, but also her mental state.

The symptoms of menopause are usually different fromwoman to woman. However, the main symptoms of menopause are irregular or missingmenstrual cycle, hot flashes and mood swings, as well as depression, sleepdisorders and irritability. It is considered that menopause begins with thehormone called follicle-stimulating hormone, abbreviated FSH.

Follicle-stimulating hormone – FSH and menopause

Follicle-stimulating hormone is a very importanthormone in females, since it is responsible for stimulating the ovulation. The pituitarygland is responsible for the production of this hormone. When the level of this hormone rises, the ovariesrelease the eggs in the fallopian tube to be fertilized. When the level of FSHis increased, the level of estrogen is decreased. If the egg is not fertilized,menstruation starts and the level of estrogen increases, while the level offollicle-stimulating hormone decreases.

Menopause is a period when a woman does not ovulate.Therefore, the levels of follicle-stimulating hormone are always high. Furthermore, in menopause the hormone estrogen isnot produced any more. However, the pituitary gland secretes more FSH in orderto encourage the ovaries to manufacture more estrogen. Thus, in women whoreached menopause, the level of follicle-stimulating hormone is very high.

Normal level of follicle-stimulating hormone

It is considered that the normal level offollicle-stimulating hormone in women who have not reached menopause rangesfrom 5 and 25 mIU/ml. So, when the test shows the readings above 25 mIU/ml,the woman is in perimenopause. If the reading on the test is higher than 50 mIU/ml,then the woman is in menopause.

The level of follicle-stimulating hormone can be measuredby the means of a saliva test or a urinetest. However, many experts recommend a urine test, since it is considered to bemore accurate. Smoking and certain foods, as well as hormone replacement therapyand birth control pills, can influence the results of a saliva test. The test to measure the level of this hormone can bedone in a laboratory, although there are many tests that can be bought over-the-counter.

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