Surviving Menopause

By Charlotte on December 2, 2011 6:18 AM

Let's face it. Certain parts of getting older REALLY suck, especially for us girls.


I'm talkin' hot flashes so intense your skin flushes, your heart races and you're instantly covered in sweat. LOOOOOOOONG nights spent waiting for the ever-elusive sandman while your partner finds peace as soon as his head touches the pillow (lucky Bob!). And night sweats that leave you so drenched you'd almost think you'd been in the shower ... not under the covers! 


E-Ss top pick 2 350.jpgWhat's happening here? I asked women's wellness advocate Ellen Saver Dolgen, who under the penname "E" authored Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness (Hyperion, 2011), to give us Boomer babes some tips for recognizing and managing our midlife mire. Her funny, no-nonsense guide to menopause and its symptoms helps make both our frustrations and options much easier to understand.  



Making Sense of Menopause

A Guest Blog by "E"


Every Boomer babe will go through menopause someday. Basically, menopause is the tampon-free time in a woman's life. Sounds breezy, right? Who wouldn't want to live without their period? Well, the transition from the tampon-wearing time to the tampon-free time can get quite rocky and extremely challenging.



Calling all Boomer Babes: Help is on the way! We're giving away five gifts great for making sense of your midlife issues. Each includes:


You could win this enlightening set ... FREE. Click "Read More" for details on how to enter. Contest* ends Dec. 15!

What's a girl to do? I try my best to keep reading and educating myself so that I can make the healthiest choices available. I can't stress enough the importance of research -- take responsibility for your body and arm yourself with knowledge. Here are my top tips for dealing with the challenges of perimenopause and menopause (I call it PM&M for short!).



Know the Difference between Perimenopause and Menopause.

The onset of menopause begins when you are YOUNG: the process begins with perimenopause.


Perimenopause is something no one ever mentioned to me, probably because I would have requested a sex change! I thought one day I would wake up and my period would be gone, and who would be sad about that? I had never heard the word perimenopause. Typically, perimenopause is the 6- to 10-year, symptom-laden span of time before a woman finally stops getting her period. You are technically in menopause when you have not had a period for 12 consecutive months. The period can be quite the drama queen -- it never wants to say goodbye! You may find you have been without a period for five months and then suddenly it decides to surprise you, always unannounced and uninvited. You will not receive a "save-the-date" so you can plan your outfit!


Most women first begin to experience perimenopause in their early- to mid-forties (Jennifer Aniston is young, gorgeous and in her forties). Some women begin to have symptoms in their thirties, which can result in premature menopause or early menopause. Many factors contribute to menopausal timing, including genetics and medical and surgical history (women who undergo a hysterectomy traditionally jump right into menopause).



Learn about PM&M Symptoms So You're Prepared

The first thing you should know is that you aren't going crazy and you're NOT ALONE! You may experience hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, a crashing libido or night sweats. Millions of women all over the world are facing similar challenges.


So take a deep breath and start tracking your symptoms. I created a Shmirshky Daily Symptoms Chart (available inside every copy of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness) to make this easy! You can take it with you to your doctor or, even better, a PM&M specialist, to help you effectively communicate how you are feeling. 


Don't worry -- there are no wrong answers and no one is going to grade you. Remember: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!



Find a PM&M Specialist

Finding a gynecologist who specializes in perimenopause and menopause symptoms is critical for your well-being. This might not be the same doctor who delivered your babies or has been giving you your regular Pap smear. A specialist will have the unique knowledge and skill set necessary to offer you the help you need. This doctor should be able to:


Think of your doctor as a business partner, and don't be afraid to be picky! Choosing the right doctor is the first step in making your PM&M journey easier. If you find your doctor is not helping you, then switch doctors. No divorce attorney is needed!



There is No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

Keep in mind that all women are different, with unique challenges that require different solutions. The various options available to you range from acupuncture to hormone therapy. It is up to you to educate yourself and to work with your PM&M specialist to decide what is best for your body. Reach out and get the help that you deserve. You can find hormone happiness. I did!




ShmirshkyHC-1 100.jpgAbout "E"

"E" is the pen name of Ellen Sarver Dolgen, author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness -- a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides and hilarious stories. Known for her humor, compassion and sassy personality, E has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including the Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, NPR's Tell Me More and Doctor Radio. She appears monthly as a menopause and women's wellness guest on KSWB Fox 5 Morning News San Diego and is a regular on Sirius XM Radio's Broadminded (Stars XM 107). E is also one of the first regular contributors to debut on the Huffington Post's latest site, Huff/Post50. When not promoting women's health and wellness, E's busy trying her best not to eat all the ice cream in the freezer.


Oh, and by the way, "shmirshky" (pronounced SHMERSH-KEY) is a playful name for vagina and the women who possess them. Visit Shmirshky.com for everything you wanted to know about perimenopause and menopause but were afraid to ask!



Feel like you're suddenly losing your keys, your temper or your mind? Help is on the way! You could win one of five, FREE gifts great for making sense of your midlife mire. Each includes:


  • Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness (Hyperion, $22.99) - E's humorous and heartfelt guide to facing menopause 
  • A Shmirshky T-shirt 

To enter the contest*, email your name, mailing address (no PO Boxes please), phone number and T-shirt size (Small, Medium, Large or Extra-Large) to Enter@BoomerBrief.com by Dec. 15 and put "Shmirshky" in the subject line.



*The contest is only open to entrants in the 50 United States.

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Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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