Despite not being updated since 2002, this is a highly useful book for peri- and menopausal women. It is best for women who want to get the info on what the heck is going on and how to feel better ASAP without lot of psychological or spiritual "woo" but with a great...
Despite not being updated since 2002, this is a highly useful book for peri- and menopausal women. It is best for women who want to get the info on what the heck is going on and how to feel better ASAP without lot of psychological or spiritual "woo" but with a great amount of useful info organized for efficiently determining what to do to feel better.
This is what I wish New Menopausal Years (the Wise Woman Way) had been, and it has a tighter focus and utility than Menopause For Dummies. It has a wealth of information delivered objectively but in a nicely targeted way (with TONS of citations and references). It explains what estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and the androgens do in the body, and what symptoms you can have when any or all of these hormones go haywire during perimenopause or after menopause has officially begun. It gives you an idea of what is to come after your periods have stopped and it has a thorough and clear glossary of terminology and chapters on self-care, nutrition, herbal remedies, and hormone replacement therapy, as well as an index and a list of resources. It just has a few flaws, which I''ll get to.
The author has a conversational writing style which is very easy to read. His recommended treatment protocols include herbs, homeopathics, and prescription conventional hormone replacement therapy (depending on what works best for your menopause type) as well as chapters on self-care and nutrition. In other words, he is treatment agnostic and advocates whatever works best for the patient, without bias for or against conventional medicine and with a sober acknowledgement that while there are risks with HRT, they must be balanced with the benefits. What''s really great is the open-mindedness to the complementary and alternative medicine treatments, including nutrition. I am hoping to avoid HRT so getting info on C&A treatments (herbs) and nutrition is very important to me.
This is a great book to explain and describe what each of these hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) do in the female body, and what kind of symptoms you can develop when the levels of one, two, or all three are high or low. But it doesn''t overwhelm you with information. The author uses example patients to describe the different types of menopause, which is a useful convention for elucidating the problems and the solutions. Once I found my type and read that section and the description of common symptoms, it *really* rang true and captured the misery of the symptoms I''ve been having, why, and what to do about it.
As a registered nurse, I really appreciate the author''s ability to use jargon free language to explain how the endocrinology of sex and adrenal hormones works (or doesn''t) during perimenopause and menopause, without overwhelming the reader with information. This book addresses the specifics of what is causing your symptoms and how to relieve them without being either as wide-ranging or as boring as Menopause For Dummies, and it isn''t loaded with New Age "woo" like New Menopausal Years (The Wise Woman Way) -- perhaps because it is more tightly focused. I also really appreciated the citations and references; they make it feel like the book is a real reference and not just mostly the author''s opinions.
In a way, the closest and best comparison to this book that I can think of is not a menopause book, it''s a book on treatment of the different types of depressions (the book Beyond Prozac -- which lamentably had only one edition), because of the way both authors are treatment agnostic and recommend what combination of conventional medicine &/or supplements &/or nutrition works best for the different types.
However, there are a few caveats.
1. Scoring the menopausal type questionnaire is very confusing (as evidenced by the many reviews that say just that). I understand the author developed this tool to help women figure out whether their symptoms are related to low, normal, or high levels of each hormone (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), and therefore that sort of requires a matrix or spreadsheet to figure out the scoring. And my impression, from how that section of the book is written, is that he tried to simplify it as much as possible. But still, I had to try scoring my questionnaire three times before I was relatively confident I got it right. It''s just kind of confusing and difficult, and since that is the main point of the book before you can figure out how to treat your type, I feel like that should be less confusing, clearer, and have less potential for terminally frustrating the reader.
Just keep trying. It took me 3 tries before I was confident I got it right.
2. The book refers one to the author''s web site for various resources, such as an "automated'' version of the questionnaire, and a list of labs that do direct to consumer saliva testing. But the author''s web site is confusing and difficult to navigate, so I never found the automated version of the questionnaire. (By automated, I thought he meant that you fill the questionnaire out on the web site, and it scores it FOR you. I never found that. All I could find was the questionnaire in PDF format for download. And I could never find the list of labs that do saliva testing.
The web site needs a major overhaul by a professional web designer. The current web site looks like a cross between a boilerplate online shopping presence and the mid-term project for a college level web design course. Not that impressive. There is a lot of useful information, but it is not well organized, requiring the end user to do a lot of hunting around and clicking through, and there are no ''breadcrumbs'' and few navigation bars to help you go back to where you were (aside from the Back button in your browser).
It is also designed to sell you his herbal and enzyme supplement blends, which are unbelievably expensive compared to what you can find at other much easier-to-use online herb/supplement shops. The entire web site was a real disappointment after the book and makes the author look like he''s just shilling for his own products -- which was not the feel I got from the book at all. It doesn''t invalidate the info from the book... it just sort of cheapens it.
3. The saliva testing question: given that hormone levels fluctuate on a circadian rhythm, the utility of saliva testing versus serum (blood) testing is questionable. Why not test urine for levels of hormones, then? I mean, that is reliable enough -- and quantitative! -- to indicate pregnancy! (Saliva testing is also not the gold standard and insurances companies usually won''t cover it... another reason why the FDA does not approve saliva testing for hormone baseline or monitoring, though they don''t prevent you from getting it yourself.)
Aside from these caveats, this is still the best book on menopause I''ve found. As with most things, you have to take what works for you and leave the rest. But this book -- if you can use the questionnaire and the scoring formula correctly, which is not guaranteed -- will arm you with the information you need to take non-prescription herbs or homeopathic remedies to help with your peri- or menopausal symptoms. It will also tell you what herbs to avoid.