Ellen is your advocate until you are strong enough to advocate for yourself. Ellen's book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, guides you through the maze of options available to relieve symptoms, restore your sanity and improve your health.
How are you celebrating the Fourth of July? Hosting a party, attending someone else’s patriotic powwow, or watching fireworks (or all three!), I ask that you keep one thing in mind all day: independence. Of course, I am a huge fan of the USA, I will be sporting my red, white and blue on Wednesday, and I’m a big fan of stars and stripes, but the independence I’m talking about is much more personally empowering, deliberate and mind-focused.
With the long-standing taboo surrounding menopause, most women don’t know what to expect. They walk into perimenopause (or are rather pushed into it by Father Time) without a road map. It’s easy to get lost with no plan, especially when contradictory bits of information on the Internet send you driving in circles. You may be in full control of your life before perimenopause, prepared for any speed bump that comes your way, but if you’re not prepared with the knowledge of the 34 symptoms and their effect on your body, you may end up feeling like you were kidnapped, blindfolded and dropped off in nowhere land.
You can prevent this! The first thing we have to make sure we understand is that perimenopause does not happen when you’re old. Aging is a touchy subject for a lot of women, and the fact that most people think menopause happens when you’re old makes perimenopause guilty by association. Understanding that perimenopause starts between the ages of 38 and 48 will open your mind to educating yourself about this stage in life. Don’t give your menopause the chance to hold you captive.
If you educate yourself, you will have a good idea of what you may expect in perimenopause. Once you enter it, you will already have a familiarity with the Menopause Symptoms Chart on pages 168-69 of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, and you will be more in-tune with your body and more comfortable and thorough in charting your symptoms. With your patterns recorded, you will be more readily able to explain your experiences to your perimenopause and menopause specialist (find one here!).
Your independence from menopause also depends on your willingness to look into options for symptom relief. I am very happy with my bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and the North American Menopause Society recently came out with a new position statement explaining that it may not be as dangerous as reported after the WHI trials of 2002. To wade through the myths and get the quick facts, read “Take the ‘Bite’ Out of HRT”.
HRT is not the only option. If you’d rather keep things all natural, you can find relief from hot flashes with the Kool Tool towel, relief from night sweats with Dry Babe Sleepwear for “Hot” Mamas, and relief from vaginal dryness with Inner Intimates Vaginal Renewal Complex. Many women find relief from menopause symptoms in soy products as well.
Keep your personal independence in mind on Independence Day and every day to make sure you keep it. You can find your way to happiness on the 4th in the fireworks and barbecues and you can find hormone happiness, too, if you’re simply given a road map and travel guide.
Happy Independence Day!
Remember: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!