Diagnosis of Menopause


Learning Centre, Menopause

Diagnosis of Menopause

Listen to this article using the links below (Parts I & II)

You may be transitioning into menopause if you begin experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:

      • Breast tenderness.

      • Worsening of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

      • Irregular periods or skipping periods.

      • Periods that are heavier or lighter than usual.

      • Hot flashes (a sudden feeling of warmth that spreads over the body).

      • Night sweats and/or cold flashes.

      • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex.

      • Urinary urgency (a pressing need to urinate more frequently).

      • Stress urinary incontinence (leak of urine with laughing, exercise, sneezing etc)

      • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

      • Emotional changes (irritability, mood swings, mild depression).

      • Dry skin, dry eyes or dry mouth.

      • Racing heart.

      • Headaches.

      • Joint and muscle aches and pains.

      • Changes in libido (sex drive).

      • Difficulty concentrating, memory lapses (often temporary).

      • Weight gain.

      • Hair loss or thinning.

    Signs and symptoms are usually enough to tell most women that they’ve started the menopausal transition. Tests typically aren’t needed to diagnose perimenopause since there are significant fluctuations of hormone values at this stage. Menopause is unique in that it is diagnosed after it takes place – and remember, it’s a singular event in time.


    Menopause, Postmenopause and Premature Menopause

    If you have gone a full year (12 straight months) without a period, you have entered menopause and may be postmenopausal. But some laboratory tests are useful to diagnose premature menopause or POI. It is also helpful to exclude other medical issues that could cause similar symptoms (like adrenal or thyroid disorders) or before initiating and monitoring hormone therapy. 

    At BioConnect, we will order tests specifically for the problems you feel you are experiencing. We typically evaluate your reproductive hormones, Oestrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEAS and Cortisol. We can, of course, perform a full panel test that includes thyroid, glucose metabolism, liver and kidney function, lipid panel and nutritional deficiencies to have a holistic view of your general health. A physical exam, mammogram and/or breast ultrasound, pelvic ultrasound and pap smear are always recommended and necessary prior to any hormone treatment.

    Remember, menopause is a stage of life, not a disease nor a disorder.

    Nevertheless, significant hormone changes often cause debilitating symptoms with long term consequences and that is why BioConnect is here to help. Living for years with low hormones may increase your risk of

        • Osteoporosis (bone weakening)

        • Heart disease

        • Type 2 diabetes

        • Dementia

        • Depression


      Another common long-term effect of menopause is the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM). The syndrome may include, but is not limited to: 

          • Genital symptoms of dryness, burning, and irritation

          • Lack of sexual lubrication

          • Discomfort or pain or impaired function

          • Urinary symptoms of urgency

          • Dysuria

          • Recurrent urinary tract infections

        Treatments focus on relieving your signs and symptoms and preventing or managing chronic conditions that may occur with ageing.


        It is critical to talk to a BioConnect specialist if you suspect menopausal symptoms so we can craft a treatment plan that works specifically for you. Every one of our patients is unique and we will always cater to your needs.


        Hormone Therapy or Non-Hormone Therapy

        What is hormone therapy for menopause like?

        During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes, decreasing the amount of hormones it makes, particularly oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Oestrogen and progesterone are mostly produced by the ovaries although small amounts are also produced in the adrenal glands and fat cells.

        Testosterone in women is produced in various locations. One quarter of the hormone is produced in the ovary, a quarter is produced in the adrenal gland and one half is produced in the peripheral tissues from the various precursors produced in the ovaries and adrenal gland.

        When your ovaries no longer make enough oestrogen, progesterone or testosterone, hormone therapy can be used as a supplement. Hormone therapy boosts your hormone levels and can help relieve some symptoms of menopause. It’s also used as a preventative measure for osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.

        In recent years, one of the most important shifts in menopause research and treatment is the recognition that body-identical hormone treatments have proven to be much safer than synthetic hormone treatments. This is something that BioConnect Medical strongly supports and we commit to keep always up-to-date with medical research and have available for our patients the most safe and effective medical treatment and innovative equipment.

        Click here for more details on HRT and breast cancer risks.

        Maturity, middle age, health, menopause, age concept

        Best practice menopause treatment should be patient-centred and specific for her needs. As such, treatment options, dosing and length of treatment should be considered based on the individual’s symptoms, circumstances, and expectations. 

        There are two main types of hormone therapy:

            • Oestrogen therapy (OT or ET): This is where oestrogen is taken alone. It’s typically prescribed in a low dose and can be taken as a pill, patch, cream, vaginal, gel, spray or subdermal pellet. This type of treatment is actually quite common after a hysterectomy. Oestrogen alone cannot be used if you still have a uterus though.

            • Oestrogen-Progesterone Hormone Therapy (OPT or EPT): This is also called combination therapy because it uses doses of oestrogen and progesterone. Progesterone is available in its natural form or also as a progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone). This type of hormone therapy is used if you still have your uterus as it can balance the effect of oestrogen and also decrease the risk of endometrial cancer. Progesterone can be taken orally, vaginally or through an intrauterine device.

          Testosterone can be prescribed alone or with oestrogen and/or progesterone. Mostly prescribed if symptoms of sexual dysfunction like low libido or severe fatigue are present.

          Hormone therapy is very effective and mostly safe if taken under proper specialised and monitored care and can relieve most of the symptoms of menopause. Like most prescribed medications, there are also some risks for hormone therapy but they are lower if you start hormone therapy within 10 years of menopause. Thus, timing is very important for optimal success and decreased risks.

          Going on hormone therapy is an individualised decision. The doctor at BioConnect will discuss all past medical conditions and your family history to help you understand the risks versus benefits of hormone therapy and will always discuss different treatment options that might be suitable for your specific case.

          Though hormone therapy is a very effective method for relieving menopause symptoms, it’s not the perfect treatment for everyone.

          Click here for more details on HRT and breast cancer risks.

          Non-Hormonal Treatments

          Non-hormonal treatments are related to changes in diet and lifestyle and can be very effective. We add to this the use of specific nutraceuticals/supplements, laser treatment for vaginal atrophy, pelvic floor re-education for incontinence and other non-hormone prescription medications.  These treatments are often good options for people who have medical conditions or have been treated for breast cancer.

          We believe that menopause can certainly be a positive time of life. Too often, lack of education and myths foster misconceptions about this normal process of ageing. Menopause can cause significant noticeable and uncomfortable changes in your life but you do not have to go through this alone anymore. We are here to support you during this journey and show you how these symptoms can be managed effectively.  

          During menopause, your body goes through major hormonal changes, decreasing the amount of hormones it makes, particularly estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Estrogen, progesterone are mostly produced by the ovaries, although the adrenal glands and fat cells also make small amounts of the hormones. Testosterone in women is produced in various locations.

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          BioConnect Medical Centre in Barbados is the Caribbean’s first and only clinic specifically dedicated to women transitioning through the menopause, perimenopause and post-menopause. We are here to do this stage of your life with you through a combination of medical, aesthetic and wellness solutions.

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          NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner (NCMP)

          As the definitive resource for menopause and other midlife healthcare issues,
          NAMS developed a competency examination program in 2002 to

          • Set the standards for menopause practice
          • Assist women in locating clinicians who could provide optimal menopause-related healthcare

          To learn more please view the NAMS website here.

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