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Test could predict menopause age

Researchers believe that a hormone in the blood may help women predict when they will hit the menopause.

Levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) reflect the number of egg-bearing follicles in a woman's ovaries.

When her stock of follicles drops too far, she can no longer produce eggs capable of being fertilised and enters the menopause.

This normally occurs between the ages of 40 and 60, but is not always easy to predict and this can create a problem for women wanting to delay motherhood.

Dutch researchers measured AMH in 144 healthy fertile women and used the information to estimate average levels of the hormone as a function of age.

Combining this with information from 3,384 women aged between 50 and 70 allowed the scientists to develop their model.

The formula, based on AMH level and age, is able to predict age at menopause for individual women.

Researchers Dr Jeroen van Disseldorp and Dr Frank Broekmans, from the University Medical Centre Utrecht, said: "Knowing when menopause may occur would greatly impact childbearing decisions and our findings show that such knowledge may now be available from AMH levels."

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