Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause

Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause

by Ann Louise Gittleman


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Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause by Ann Louise Gittleman

From a renowned nutritionist and author of the bestselling Fat Flush Plan comes a revised and updated edition of the popular alternative guide for taking charge of your perimenopause, filled with up-to-date research, including the latest information on Hormone Replacement Therapy, mood swings, weight gain, and nutrition for women thirty-five and older.

Before the Change offers a gentle, proven, incremental program for understanding your body’s changes and controlling your symptoms during perimenopause—the period of about ten years leading up to menopause—to help you feel great through this vital phase of life. Inside you’ll find:

  • A clear explanation of the symptoms of perimenopause and a self-diagnosis quiz;
  • Safe and natural alternatives to hormone therapy, including healing vitamins, minerals, herbs, and natural hormones;
  • A guide to nutrition and healthy diet, with tips for foods that prevent and alleviate symptoms.

In addition, this revised and updated edition includes:

  • An expanded section on the pros and cons of soy as a natural phytoestrogen;
  • An expanded discussion of hypothyroidism, its connection to hormonal imbalances, and the best natural treatments;
  • A full analysis of HRT, including advice for safely weaning yourself off of synthetic hormones, and an overview of herbal, lifestyle, and diet options and modifications available for women who have had a hysterectomy, have risk factors or a history of breast cancer, osteoporosis, or heart disease.

With this essential do-it-yourself program, say good-bye to hormone havoc simply, safely, and naturally!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062642318
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 203,867
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface xi

1 You're Not Crazy! It's Just Perimenopause! 1

2 Ann Louise's All-Star Peri Zappers 15

Peri Zapper #1 Flaxsees and/or Flaxseed Oil 21

Peri Zapper #2 Black Currant Seed Oil 22

Peri Zapper #3 M 'n' M (Magnesium and Multivitamins) 22

Peri Zapper #4 Zinc 23

Peri Zapper #5 Natural Progesterone Cream 23

Peri Zapper #6 The Right Moves 24

Peri Zapper #7 Stress Reliever 24

Peri Zapper #8 Adrenal Refresher 24

Peri Zapper #9 Liver and Bile Support 25

Peri Zapper #10 Natural Estrogen Therapy 25

3 Controlling Carbs 27

4 Sexy, Slimming Fats and Hormone-Friendly Proteins 43

5 Getting Personal with the Sexy, Slimming Fats 65

6 The Right Peri Vitamins and Minerals 87

7 Natural Hormone Cream 109

8 Making All the Right Moves 123

9 Taking the Distress Out of Stress 135

10 Taming the Thyroid 155

11 Estrogen, Phytoestrogens, and Bioflavonoids 171

12 Bioidentical Hormone Therapy 187

13 Clean Food and Pure Water 197

14 Secret Cures for Perimenopause Problems 209

15 The Peri Prescription 229

Resources 249

Selected References 269

Index 285

About the Author 301

What People are Saying About This

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.”

Hyla Cass

"Practical, jargon-free guidelines for a healthy passage into menopause and beyond."

Customer Reviews

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Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Perimenopause 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I lay in a complete pool of sweat covering my head, neck and back, I couldn't help but ask one question. Why? The breaking of my normal sleep pattern, a pattern that I've enjoyed for most of my life (for ALL of my life for that mattter!), just did NOT figure into what I pictured for myself and my husband nearing our 'middle' years. After hearing about this book, I immediately picked it up to read, hoping for an answer, a link to this 'persistent problem', maybe even A SOLUTION. I didn't expect much because I had already consulted the best MDs & gynecologists in the state. I was told these gems: 'lazy ovaries', 'you'll get over it', 'hey, it is just a passing thing' and the most common gem, 'you are just too young for menopause'! Desperate, alone, I sought the advice of any older woman I felt comfortable talking to and I received the same answer. 'oh, I just breezed through that' or 'I don't know if I had any symptoms or not'. Fabulous, THAT generation was really without access to knowledge and publications. Why am I finding this to be difficult for me too? After realizing that almost any magazine about women has had an article on the 'new' perimenopause, I decided to follow-up and re-read those articles more closely. It was then that I found Ann Louise. This book was my first purchase on the subject of PERIMENOPAUSE.....and it is my bible to the bodily changes all women go through, but do not talk to one another about! even today!! I immediately followed all of her suggestions, spent the money on MY OWN HEALTH, and can now say that I am symptom free and on a new road of life--the one I did picture! I enjoy freedom from very severe,constant& shocking symptoms. A.L. Gittleman hit my problem dead-on and lifted me straight up!!!! I go everywhere with her book. A great book to pass on to a younger girlfriend or daughter!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely helpful to find out the cause of my peri-menopausal woes. The solutions really worked too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very informative reading on what we can expect in the days to come. Well written!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought book was one of the most helpful of its kind on the market. The Peri Zappers really work. Watch out world - I am becmoing normal again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched and information is very useful!
chance20000 More than 1 year ago
This is a book that is extremely easy to follow and find the information that you need to start yoiur process.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend choosing another book on Perimenopause. This particular book was great in telling you about the symptoms that you are experiencing but not at all helpful in helping you to understand why or what can be done. The book read like an edvertisement for all of the herbs and vitamins that could be purchased through a particular vendor. I was really disappointed as I am on a fixed income and could have purchased other books that would have been much more helpful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly, it did! Horrible life stopping mood swings/anxiety attacks were stopped dead in their tracks. I really thought I was going crazy. Great advice on how to correct horomonal imbalances naturally, you DO NOT need to jump into prescription horomones.
Lisa_Love More than 1 year ago
I discovered some key supplements and lifestyle factors that made all the difference in my experience going thru the change. This is a very practical guide to fix each symptom that you may be going through. I highly recommend reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought this was a great book. The Peri Zappers zapped all symptoms.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I had my last baby at 36, tied my tubes and thought I'd be on the road to worry free sex the rest of my life. What my dr. failed to tell me was that in tying my tubes I would alter the natural balance in my body leading to lost sex drive, horrible PMS, fatigue and and a myriad of other problems. The good dr. meaning well thought I might be okay if I were on hormome replacement therapy (estrogen). Thankfully, never having been able to tolerate the pill, I chose not the use this option. Instead I headed to the nearest bookstore and purchased a copy of this wonderful book. I had heard several discussions about perimenopause but really did not know much about it. This book turned out to be a godsend! After 4 months of completely following Dr. Gittelman's advice, I am finally back to my normal self. Even better, I actually feel better than I have in many years! My skin is better, my energy levels are up and I won't even mention how grateful my husband is! Thing is- I'm not sure whether or not, I'm in perimenopause, but the basic advice on how to deal with PMS is absolutely worth every penny spent on the book. I have recommended this book to all the women in my family who are in their mid-thirties and older.