Lenore Pomerance Menopause Counseling
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From working with the growing body of menopause literature I have learned one thing:
you can find a convincing authority to support whatever your biases are. Treatment biases cluster around two positions: first is that menopause is an endocrine disorder like diabetes and should be treated like an illness, second that menopause is a natural condition that happens to every woman who lives long enough. When we find ourselves in menopause or perimenopause we can become so paralyzed by the contradictions and choices that we don't even know what our biases or preferences might be.

If you're not sure of your own biases ask yourself what you did or didn't do about birth control, or about "natural" or "medicated" childbirth. Were you happily on the pill or an IUD for fifteen years? If so you may be more trusting of the medical profession's treatments. If not, you may be willing to spend more time and effort searching out alternative practitioners and treatments. If you experienced childbirth, how supported did you feel in your choices of assistance during childbirth or doing it "naturally"?

The same groundswell of social, physical, and psychological inquiry and support that promoted and responded to medical advances in birth control and childbirth is exploding in the field of menopause. Women have more choices than ever before and are taking more responsibility in making those choices.

I like to think of menopause treatment this way: our bodies are like a rich, complex stew. To get that perfect flavor we need to adjust the heat, the length of cooking time, and to balance the ingredients. It takes time, experimentation, and patience. Prioritize your symptoms and work on alleviating those at the top of the list. It isn't necessary to pick one treatment that will serve all menopausal symptoms and aging needs simultaneously and immediately. If we add the ingredients one at a time we'll have a better idea what "tastes" and feels good and why.

(click cover or title to buy)

1. "Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause", by Boston Women's Health Book Collective (Author), Vivian Pinn (Preface).

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause provides an in-depth look at subjects such as hormone therapy, sexuality, and stress, as well as proven strategies for coping with challenges like hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. In clear, accessible language, the book dispels menopause myths and provides crucial information that women can use to take control of their own health and get the best care possible. Drawing from the experiences of a diverse group of women, this book offers everything a woman needs to make informed choices.

2. "The Wisdom of Menopause: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing During the Change", Christiane Northrup, MD,(2001) Bantam, New York

If you're familiar with Dr. Northrup's "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom", and her monthly newsletter "Health Wisdom for Women" you will be right at home with the personal style of this comprehensive menopause book which deftly weaves traditional and alternative approaches together. She's particularly frank about how her own menopause journey signaled to her the need to end her marriage. This critical dimension of how the menopausal phase can powerfully impact a woman's relationships and family life, is often absent or glossed over.

3. "Dr. Susan Love's Hormone Book: Making Informed Choices About Menopause", Susan M. Love, MD, with Karen Lindsey.(1997), Random House, New York.

With her impeccable credentials in mainstream medicine, and her feet in the "menopause is a natural condition" camp, Love informs her readers about all aspects of the symptoms, and risks of diseases that menopausal women face. A useful questionnaire to help women tease out what their biases and preferences are accompanies a full range of traditional and alternative treatments.

4. "Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way; Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90", Susun S. Weed Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, New York 1992 (Revised version coming out in July, 2001)

A menopausal book for a lifetime, Weed's bias is for alternative treatments and either questions or advises against traditional treatments. If you want to be talked out of ERT/HRT get this book. You may not agree with everything she espouses (argues against mammograms and bone density tests) but you will find her approach both spiritual and practical. This is a lifestyle bible and an herbal encyclopedia.

5. "Menopause, Naturally: Preparing for the Second Half of Life", Sadja Greenwood, M.D. (1996) Volcano Press, Volcano, California.

A postmenopausal doctor and breast cancer survivor, Greenwood doesn't oppose hormone therapy but encourages healthy lifestyles with a minimum of medication. Easy to read and whimsically illustrated, she devotes almost half of it to lifestyle changes she dubs "Postmenopausal Zest (PMZ).

6. "The Power of Perimenopause: A Woman's Guide to Physical and Emotional Health During Books the Transitional Decade", Stephanie DeGraff Bender, MA (1998), Three Rivers Press, New York.

This book is written in a personal, anecdotal style illustrating almost every topic with women from her practice counseling perimenopausal and menopausal women. The main feature of this book is it targets women in their forties, an age group that usually doesn't think of itself as "in menopause".

7. "The Pause: Positive Approaches to Menopause", Lonnie Barbach, Ph.D (1994), Signet

A sensitive discussion of emotional aspects of menopause from a woman who has been an authority on female and male sexuality for close to thirty years.

8. "The Estrogen Decision: Self Help Book", Susan M. Lark, M.D .(Third Edition, 1999),Celestial Arts, Berkeley, Calif.

While giving a fairly balanced report of the pros and cons of ERT/HRT Lark spends two-thirds of the book on alternatives, with a heavy emphasis on lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes include detailed charts, menus and recipes for dietary changes, stress reduction techniques, and yoga and accupressure positions.

9. "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: The Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone", John R. Lee, M.D. with Virginia Hopkins. (1996), Warner Books, New York.

When you've digested the other books on menopause you'll be ready for this book which sings the virtues of progesterone. It is very provocative and to the layperson sounds very convincing. It is easier to evaluate this book and your likelihood of following its advice once you've had some experience with symptom management and begin to know what works and feels good to you.