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Scientists have claimed that a new blood test can predict when a woman’s menopause will start, up to three years before it happens.
US researchers from the University of Colorado Medical School say that the quick and easy way of testing will be able to make the guess by measuring the levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), a key menopause-causing hormone.
The test will also allow medical professionals to know how many eggs a woman has left, signifying whether the end of her fertile period of life is coming to an end.
The test results will be able to pinpoint the likelihood of someone experiencing the menopause within the following one to three years, meaning it is likely to help women with making important medical decisions.
Researchers analysed blood test results from 1,537 women aged between 42 and 63, and predict the new test will help women who, for instance, are considering surgery to alleviate unpleasant symptoms from problematic periods.
Women suffering from heavy periods may feel reassured to know that their menstrual cycle is likely to end within a year and decide to delay surgery that would stop periods.
Similarly, women may decide to go ahead with stopping their periods voluntarily if they can know the chances of them stopping soon is low.
Scientists have also stressed how the new method is far more accurate than the traditional method of predicting menopause.
The current way uses the frequency of a woman’s period to pre-empt the start of the menopause, meaning a guess can only be made within a four-year time frame.
Researcher Dr 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.
“Women can make better medical decisions with the more complete information offered by new, more sensitive AMH measurements.”