What is Menopause?
Patti LaBelle went into menopause 10 years ago. . .now 56, and launching a
new CD, a national concert tour, a new book, and a new television show all within
one year, she's thrown the phrase "Finished At Fifty" out the window. This
is not your mothers' menopause! But what is menopause? Sure, it's the end
of menstruation. But what causes periods to stop is the same thing that causes
menopausal symptoms to begin: our ovaries stop producing estrogen, causing
hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal dryness,
and decreased libido. More importantly, it increases a woman's risk for several
diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.
Different women have different symptoms at different times and to different
degrees. We asked Miss LaBelle to share her experience:
"Going through that period I cried a lot. I cried all the time. I
didn't know why I was crying. I would sing 'Over the Rainbow' and I would cry
the whole song. And it hit me like that."
Like many women, Miss LaBelle says she was successfully treated with hormone
replacement therapy, or HRT. We asked her what effect she thought HRT had on
"HRT has made a difference in my life in a positive way. I'm a very,
very, very nice person now. I wasn't nice before. . ."
What would you recommend to women going through unexpected symptoms like
"If you're going through anything darling, I mean, check yourself before
you wreck yourself. Just get to a doctor".
Great advice from a great woman. Remember, you don't go into menopause overnight,
so don't prepare for it overnight. Your doctor is the best source of medical
information about menopause for you. Ask questions now to help you form
a good treatment plan later.
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Created: 3/30/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.