150 Most-Asked Questions about Menopause: What Women Really Want to Knowby Ruth S. Jacobowitz
Award-winning medical writer Ruth Jacobowitz sheds new light on women's midlife health with 150 Most-Asked Questions About Menopause. Based on national surveys, questionnaires from over twenty thousand women, and the author's own distressing menopause experience, this woman-to-woman handbook shares important news in menopause research, accompanied by/b>
Award-winning medical writer Ruth Jacobowitz sheds new light on women's midlife health with 150 Most-Asked Questions About Menopause. Based on national surveys, questionnaires from over twenty thousand women, and the author's own distressing menopause experience, this woman-to-woman handbook shares important news in menopause research, accompanied by practical advice and realistic answers to questions ranging from "What are the signs and symptoms of menopause?" and "Does every woman need estrogen replacement therapy?" to "Sex used to be great, what happened?" 150 Most-Asked Questions About Menopause is the essential resource for every woman undergoing this universal rite of passage.
- Hearst Books
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Read an Excerpt
A Gathering of Women
At the turn of the last century -- not so very long ago -- women's lives generally ended at just about the same time as their reproductive lives. Those who lived beyond that period were considered to be "old." They even considered themselves to be old and were accepting of the miseries of old age.
Not so anymore. Today, statistics show that a woman who is healthy in her fifties will probably live into her mid-eighties. Every woman wants to have a good and active life during those bonus years. So women, in increasing numbers, are gathering together wherever good information is available about the midlife changes caused by menopause, that universal rite of passage.
And women are asking questions, hundreds of questions. They want to know how to stay in control during the transition from their reproductive years to their nonreproductive years, which is simply what menopause represents. This book contains the one hundred fifty most asked questions at the educational programs at which I spoke and the good answers that were provided by the experts. Those questions and answers start in Chapter 2 and continue throughout the remainder of this book. Before we get into them, however, let's look at the programs themselves and at some new information on the subject of menopause.
These women's health programs deal with how to stay in control at midlife, the facts about menopause, and the facts about estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). The programs have been held in many cities throughout the United States. They've taken me from coast to coast -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Minnesota -- and I'm still "on the road." Women are attending these meetings in ever-increasing numbers. In Minneapolis in the summer of 1991, more than a thousand persons attended; half that number were expected. The ballroom of the hotel was filled to capacity and I was told that more than two hundred cars were turned away because the parking capacity had been exhausted, as well. I was delighted to learn that the North Women's Center, which had sponsored the program, gave a repeat performance some weeks later for those who could not be accommodated.
There have been other significant changes in the attendance at these lectures. Previously, only women were present. Lately, men, as a logical extension of their presence in childbirth classes, in the delivery room, and as "sharetakers" in the care of the children and of the home, make up anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent of our audience, and their presence continues to grow. That's appropriate, because menopausal changes are family matters.
Women appear to be seeking information about menopause at an earlier age. The average age of the women in our audiences is now forty-seven years old and it seems to be dropping: Women in their thirties are beginning to show up. That's appropriate, too, because that's the age when you can start to make vital changes in your life-style concerning your diet, your exercise program, eliminating abusive substances such as cigarettes, and begin gaining skills for reducing negative stresses in your life wherever possible.
In all, more than ten thousand women and men have gathered at these programs to hear about menopause and to ask questions. They are asked to write their questions on index cards. These are collected prior to the lengthy question-and-answer period that concludes each program. Guests are also given an evaluation form to let us know their vital statistics (such as age and reproductive stage) and to tell us whether the programs have been helpful to them.
Many very interesting facts emerge from these index cards. Surprisingly, there are almost an equal number of questions concerning the basics of menopause as, there are questions about more esoteric or special concerns. So questions such as "What is menopause?" and "When does is occur?" appear as often as "Does estrogen, replacement therapy cause cancer?" and "I've had breast cancer; can I safely take estrogen to help me get through these hot flashes?"
In this book, I have selected the one hundred fifty most frequently asked questions and organized them so that you can find information easily, whatever your degree of familiarity with the subject. But, I caution you: This book offers information in an easy question-and-answer format, but it does not replace the good information that you should obtain from your own physician. It is meant to make you an educated consumer of health care related to menopausal symptoms, but only your own doctor has the final word on these subjects, because only he or she is familiar with your particular medical history.
For example, I remember standing in an enormous assembly hall in one large midwestern city listening carefully to the comments of the women who had drifted down to the podium to ask questions after the program concluded. One question stands out in my mind. It was asked by a beautiful young blond woman, who said, "I went through a natural menopause last year when I was thirty-seven. Does this mean that I'm fifty?" Try to answer that one! I asked her if she was on HRT. When she said, "Yes, I take estrogen and progestin," I told her "No -- you are just thirty-seven and on hormone replacement therapy." Her equally attractive sister was standing next to her and said, "I'm thirty-five now. Will the same thing happen to me?" Naturally, I asked whether they knew their mother's history with menopause, because that could be an indicator of what their own experience might be. They told me that their mother had had a surgical menopause in her very early thirties and that, therefore, they did not know how her natural menopausal process might have occurred. Obviously, in this instance I couldn't offer any help, but I did suggest that these young women take these important questions to their gynecologist, which they had not done ...150 Most-Asked Questions About Menopause. Copyright © by Ruth Jacobowitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
A noted writer and national lecturer on women's health issues and author of three previous books, Ruth S. Jacobowitz lives with her husband in La Jolla, California.
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