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Menopause Corner
Menopause Corner

Wendy Hoffman blogs about menopause and women's health—particularly focusing on how diet and nutrition can positively affect a woman's life around the age of menopause.

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My Picks for The Best Books On Menopause

My home library is crammed with books, CDs and subscription newsletters about women’s health, from menopause and hormones to exercise, nutrition and natural medicine. I’ve accumulated so much information over the years that I’ve become the go-to person for my friends, and friends of friends who are going through menopause, who want to know if there’s a good primer on menopause that can explain what’s happening to their bodies, what they can expect in the future, and which treatment options are safe and effective.

Since there’s a good chance that you’re wondering the same thing, I thought I’d share my recommendations for three books that I think do an excellent job of explaining, in a thorough and unbiased way, the many medical and emotional issues that occur during the menopause years.

Do what I do and check these books out of your local library to first see which one you like the best, then purchase it for your own personal library. That way, you’ll always have good, reliable information at your fingertips for years to come.

Here are my picks for the best books on Menopause:

Our Bodies, OurselvesThe first Our Bodies, Ourselves written for us in the early 70s. It was a landmark book that helped fuel the women’s liberation movement with its frank discussion of a body. The publishers, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, caught up to us again six years ago with this edition on Menopause, which I find equally progressive. They cover the basics of Menopause (“What’s Happening in Our Bodies”), which I think women just entering the perimenopausal phase will find particularly helpful. 

What makes this book stand out? I like the way the authors have included a discussion of non-medical, emotional issues that have to do with our “changing selves,” in chapters on body image, sexuality, and family life and the workplace. 

You can read excerpts from this book and view additional content on the publisher’s website.

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife and BeyondThe second book, The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife and Beyond: The No-nonsense Approach to Staying Healthy After 50,  is authored by Drs. Janet Horn, a gynecologist and Robin Miller, an internist who specializes in integrative medicine.  They’re both in their 50s and have been friends since their med school days, so their close rapport is reflected in the way they provide information and advice. They talk about their own experiences, share patient stories and conclude each chapter with a “chat” that makes you feel that you’re among friends who are dealing with the same mid-life changes as you.

What makes this book stand out?  What’s especially interesting, and valuable to the reader, is the fact that one of the authors takes hormones and the other doesn’t and “never will” so their “conversations” reveal the issues of the HRT debate in a way that’s not didactic. It’s a brilliant way to show that there’s more than one way to get through menopause and every woman has to decide what works best for her.

The Everything Guide to MenopauseThe third book, The Everything Guide to Menopause is chock full of information about the mid-life transition beginning with a thorough explanation of the initial, peri-menopausal phase. It’s written by  Kate Bracy Kalb RN, a women’s health care practitioner, with a technical review by a gynecologist, Kathryn Arendt, MD.  It’s quite extensive, but well organized and easy to read.  I’d bet that whatever question you have about the changes you’re experiencing now, and what you can expect in the future, will be answered in these pages.

What makes this book stand out?  I applaud the author for bringing up the need to find a doctor whose qualifications match your new needs.  This one thing can make a big difference in how well you navigate the menopause years. In her chapter titled, “A Partner on the Path - Choosing a Health Care Provider,” Ms. Kalb encourages readers to explore your options early in the menopausal process and then, once you’ve found the right practitioner, take charge. She writes;  “Do your health care provider a favor, and approach your consultation as an exchange of information - not a tell-me-what-to-do-and-I’ll-leave event. 

Good advice!

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About the Author

Wendy writes about women's health in midlife.