The Change Before The Change: Everything You Need To Know To Stay Healthy In The Decade Before Menopauseby Laura E. Corio, Linda G. Kahn
You're in the prime of life. As far as you know, menopause could be years away. So why is your body sending you such weird messages? Women today can't afford to lose time and energy to the common, but often misdiagnosed, symptoms of perimenopause -- from mood swings and stubborn extra pounds to hot flashes and insomnia -- that precede menopause by as much as a decade. In this lively and solution-packed book, renowned ob/gyn Dr. Laura Corio provides all the information you need to take charge of your physical and emotional well-being
- Bantam Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.44(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.40(d)
Read an Excerpt
There was a huge snowstorm raging outside, and we'd been receiving cancellation calls all day. So I was surprised to open the door to one of our examining rooms and find Marian perched on the end of the table. Marian started seeing me twelve years ago, when she was single and living in the city. A husband and two children later, she now lived in the suburbs but still remained a loyal patient.
"Why didn't you reschedule?" I asked. "You took your life in your hands driving all the way in from Long Island."
"I couldn't wait another day, Dr. Corio," she replied.
"What isn't? I feel like my whole body is falling apartin fact, it doesn't even feel like my own body anymore!" Marian went on to list a host of symptoms: migraines, hot flashes, insomnia, dry itchy skin, urinary tract infections, irregular periods, and decreased libido. "Poor Skip," she continued, referring to her sweetheart of a husband. "My moods have been all over the place and I haven't let him touch me in weeks. He's been really understanding, but I know that for both our sakes I can't put off dealing with this any longer."
"Well, Marianhow old are you now?" I glanced down at her chart. "Forty-three? It sounds to me as if you may be in peri-menopause."
"You're kidding!" she responded. "But my mother didn't go through menopause until she was 50."
"And you may not, either. Perimenopause can begin up to a decade before menopause," I reminded her. "When was your last period?"
"About three weeks ago."
"And how was it? Longer or shorter than usual? Heavier or lighter?"
"A little heavier and longer than normal. And I had wickedPMSmy breasts were killing me and I had really bad cramps. I told Skip he should buy some stock in Motrin! It was like being a teenager all over again."
"Funny you should say that," I said, "because in some ways peri-menopause is the mirror image of puberty. One of the reasons you're experiencing irregular periods, mood swings, and PMS is that after twenty years of relative stability, your hormones are beginning to fluctuate all over the place. In your case, it's because your body is winding down its reproductive life; in a teenager's, it's because her body is winding up."
"Lovely," Marian said, rolling her eyes. "But if I'm reliving those happy teenage years, how come I have no sex drive?"
"Because perimenopause is like puberty in reverse. Although your estrogen levels are bouncing around, they're basically on their way down, whereas a teenager's are basically on their way up. Your skin is getting drier; a teenager's gets oilier."
"So is there anything I can do to feel like a human being again, or do I just have to wait this out?"
"Of course there are things you can. dowhy should you suffer?" We went on to discuss a myriad of options, from vitamin and mineral supplements to herbs and foods she could try to relieve her various symptoms. "Before you leave today I'd like to write you a prescription for saliva testing to check your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels," I added. "This is the perfect time because you're in the middle of the second half of your cycle. If these levels are no longer in the normal range and your symptoms aren't improving with just the complementary treatments, we can talk about the possibility of adding a low dose of hormones."
"I can't tell you how relieved I am to know I'm not completely falling apart!" Marian sighed as she leaned back on the table so I could begin her physical examination. "It was definitely worth braving the hazards of the Long Island Expressway to see you today."
CHECKLIST OF PERIMENOPAUSAL SYMPTOMS
Every woman experiences perimenopause differently. Some have virtually no symptoms; others have every one in the book. Because the range of symptoms is so diverse, many women don't make the connection with perimenopause and either suffer in silence or run from one specialist to another looking for cures. If you are experiencing any of the following, ask your gynecologist if he or she thinks you may be in perimenopause.
o irregular periods
o PMS symptomsbloating, cramps, breast tenderness
o hot flashes and night sweats
o insomnia and fatigue
o heart palpitations
o mood swings and irntability
o migraine headaches
o memory problems
o fuzzy thinking or inability to concentrate
o dry, itchy, irritated skin
o dry or thinning hair
o brittle nails
o weight gain, especially around the middle
o vaginal dryness or itchiness
o pain with intercourse
o loss of interest in sex
o vaginal infections
o urinary tract infections
o frequent urination or stress incontinence
o joint pain
o irritable bowel syndrome
Meet the Author
Laura E. Corio, M.D., is a board-certified ob/gyn whose thriving New York City practice attracts women from across the country because of her unique blend of no-nonsense medical advice, extensive knowledge of alternative approaches, and close collaboration with patients. She is an attending physician at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, where she also teaches medical students and residents. She has made numerous media appearances as an expert on women's health. She lives in New Jersey with her son and daughter.
Linda G. Kahn is a writer and editor specializing in health and psychology.
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