Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause

Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause

3.8 17
by Ann Louise Gittleman

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With this essential do-it-yourself program, you can say good-bye to hormone havoc and sail through your perimenopause, the period of about ten years leading up to menopause, by understanding and controlling its symptoms.

Before the Change . . .

clearly explains the symptoms of perimenopause and offers a self-diagnosis quiz

details safe and natural

See more details below


With this essential do-it-yourself program, you can say good-bye to hormone havoc and sail through your perimenopause, the period of about ten years leading up to menopause, by understanding and controlling its symptoms.

Before the Change . . .

clearly explains the symptoms of perimenopause and offers a self-diagnosis quiz

details safe and natural alternatives to hormone therapy, including healing vitamins, minerals, herbs, and natural hormones

gives you a powerful "Changing Diet," with tips and recipes for foods that prevent and alleviate symptoms

This breakthrough book details a gentle incremental program for understanding your own changes and offers a wide range of options for taking care of yourself. By following the author's proven techniques for controlling the symptoms of perimenopause, you can continue to feel great through this vital phase of your life.

Editorial Reviews

Natural Health
American natural health doyenne, Ann Louise Gittleman describes the changes women experience before the change and presents a program for countering unpleasant symptoms. . . . Before the Change is very readable, and its helpfullness is increased by its resource lists and product recommendations.
Christiane Northrup
“Loaded with exactly the kind of information women need to support their bodies during perimenopause.”
Joan Borysenko
“The best book ...on cooperating with nature as your body shifts gears in preparation for the powerful menopausal years.”
Christiane Northrup M.D.
“Loaded with exactly the kind of information women need to support their bodies during perimenopause.”

Product Details

Harper San Francisco
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.45(w) x 9.58(h) x 1.07(d)

Meet the Author

Ann Louise Gittlemanis an award-winning author of thirty books and a highly respected health pioneer. She has appeared on 20/20, Dr. Phil, The View, Good Morning America, Extra!, Good Day New York, CNN, PBS, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CBN, FOX News, and the BBC. Her work has been featured in national publications including Time; Newsweek; Harper's Bazaar; O, The Oprah Magazine; Seventeen; Fitness; Cosmopolitan; Parade; USA Weekend; Woman's World; the New York Times; and the Los Angeles Times. Gittleman has been recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and has received the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence.

Read an Excerpt


What on earth was happening to me, body? Exhausted after several nights of not being able to sleep properly, here I was again, awake at 4 A.M., feeling palpitations in my heart. Until this began, I would have slept through a hurricane. Was this the start of a heart condition or a nervous breakdown?

After a productive but extremely stressful year of travel, radio shows, lectures, and book promotions, I had relocated my office and was in the midst of remodeling my home. While the pressure of all these activities had propelled me to a new level of stress and tension, I kept reminding myself that in the past I had thrived under pressure. Anyway, no matter how much stress I had been under--from manuscript deadlines to speeches in front of thousands of people--once my head hit that pillow, I was out and always slept through the night.

Something was definitely changing in my body. I began to imagine the possibility of never getting a good night's sleep again, and that made me feel even more anxious and depressed.

It wasn't until I took an entire battery of blood (including an FSH hormone indicator) that it dawned on me what was really happening. At age forty-plus, I was in perimenopause. My concept of perimenopause was academic.But I knew that it was a time of about ten years in a woman's life during which her body changes its secretion and processing of the hormones needed for reproduction. Two months earlier, for the first time in my life I had missed a period, but I'd attributeed it to excessive travel and the body clock adjustments that come with flying through various zones.

Yet it was also true that over the past tenyears I had become noticeably more irritable and less patient-- with a shorter fuse--and had developed a shorter attention span. I simply attributed these personality changes to my increased focus on work. It never once occurred to me that something biochemical, such as hormones, was changing in my body, affecting my nervous system. Additionally, I didn't have any telltale symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.

Now I realized that if only I had recognized what was happening to me, I would have sought remedies much earlier on. Those ten years could have been far more pleasurable for me than they were. I say this even though my symptoms were not as severe as those suffered by many women during their perimenopause.

Motivated by my own experience, I set out on a mission to enlighten women everywhere, between the ages of thirty-five and fifty, about this newly recognized stage of life called perimenopause. In addition to comparing notes with women from this age group all over the country, I attended perimenopause conferences, reviewed special publications, and interviewed doctors, psychologists, researchers, and product developers. I also personally experimented with a variety of remedies based upon state-of-the-art comprehensive hormone profiles.

What I learned was appalling. The scant information available on perimenopause was frequently incomplete, misleading, and highly risky to follow. American women are being cold to take tranquilizers for nervousness and anxiety, and sleeping pills for disturbed sleeping patterns--symptoms caused by the hormonal imbalances of perimenopause. The use of the antidepressant Prozac, a much-recommended drug for a number of female symptoms, is up 65.4 percent in just the last three years, with 18 million prescriptions written.

Millions of women never discover the fundamental cause of their emotional and physical symptoms. As menopause specialist Dr. Helene B. Leonetti states, "I would say that 50 percent of women in perimenopause have been misdiagnosed. Usually they've been given Prozac or put through a ten-thousand-dollar cardiac workup." Dr. Nancy Lee Teaff, author of Perimenopause: Preparing for the Change, told New Woman magazine: "When they first start to appear, perimenopausal symptoms may seem unrelated to each other, and women often treat each problem individually, not seeing the connection untilyears later." She continued, "Skipped periods and hot flashes are almost automatically attributed to menopause, but if your first symptom happens to be insomnia, you may spend hours in a therapist's office before it becomes apparent that the problem is primary hormonal."

Women desperately seek new remedies for fresh symptoms, but they look in all the wrong places! They try to treat each symptom as a separate problem, while instead they need to discover the single underlying cause. Once they restore greater balance to their hormones, their symptoms usually fade and may disappear on their own. But to do this, a woman has to recognize the connecti0on between her symptoms and hormones'and do so a number of years before she expected to have to take midlife hormone changes into account. Many women are presently in this situation. And that's why I had to write this book.

PMS or Perimenopause?

"It's not unlike a bad case of premenstrual syndrome," said Gloria Bachman, professor and chief of obstetrics and gynecology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Some of the most uncomfortable symptoms of a woman's midlife transition are present in its earliest stages, as noted by Gail Sheehy, author of the pioneering bestseller The Silent Passage. The suffering caused by the very real

Perimenopause Symptoms

Ankles or feet swollen
Blood sugar imbalance
Blood sugar level reduced
Bone loss
Breast sagging
Breast tenderness
Facial hair
Feelings of being crazy
Fibrocystic breast
Fuzzy thinking
Hair loss or thinning
Heart palpitations
Hot flashes
Before the Change. Copyright © by Ann Louise Gittleman. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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