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Hot Flashes: When Will They Start? New Test May Predict Menopause

26- year old Leslie Ayers is years away from menopause--but exactly how many years is the question. Now Iranian researchers believe they can predict when a woman will enter menopause.

Scientists sampled the blood of 266 women between the ages of 20 and 40 and measured the amount of Anti-Mullerian Hormone which tells doctors how many eggs are in the ovaries.

Two more blood samples were taken and of the 63 patients who hit menopause--researchers were able to pinpoint the date within four months.

Texas Health Dallas OB/GYN Dr. John Bertrand said the test has some very practical applications.

"That could be very beneficial to especially younger couples who are wanting to know when to have their families or if they could put their families off,"Dr. Bertrand said.

Leslie is already starting her family and is 18- weeks pregnant. She also knows she's expecting a baby girl --as far as Leslie is concerned the more information the better.

"I'm a type a planner," Leslie said. "I like to know my options and get them all out there and plan for it. I'm a planner."

Dr. Bertrand believes the Iranian study may also have other health benefits linked to menopause--including osteoporoses and pre-menopausal breast cancer.

"So if we knew that we might want to screen earlier for breast cancer we may want to look at their calcium and vitamin D and watch for osteopenia or osteoporosis in their lives," Dr. Bertrand said.

But the main benefit would be taking the guesswork out of knowing when to start a family. Dr. Bertrand said freezing sperm is easy but freezing eggs is much more difficult.

Until that's perfected predicting menopause may become the best way to make sure it's not too late to start a family.

As for Leslie--maybe a few years from now she'll benefit from the science if she choose to add to her family.

"I hate surprises so I'd be all for it," Leslie said. "I think it would be really cool."

Researchers say more studies are needed but if they're right--someday women in their 20's will know when hot flashes will start.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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