cartoon with cat in front of computer18 years ago we could hardly find any information to read about menopause, but now there are thousands of sites on the internet, magazines named MENOPAUSE, thousands of books that cover every angle of peri-menopause, menopause symptoms, what causes a hot flash and on and on! I have been sharing my reader's personal stories here from the beginning, plus sharing news reports and websites that help you find answers to your menopause questions. I hope you will read with interest and leave your comments so that we can have a discussion about the issues that are important to all of us!

Ellen Dolgen on Sleep

Menopause Mondays - ZZZZ… Sleeping? Wake Up for This One!
Are you awake all night, and then dragging through the day with toothpicks holding up your eyelids? Then try not to snooze through this one. Sleeplessness can be a real problem for women going through menopause. In fact, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) lists trouble falling asleep as one of the five main symptoms of menopause. I, suddenly, without any notice, was not sleeping beauty, once perimenopause hit my life! 
The Menopause Sleepless Society is a BIG club, Ladies! Why does menopause affect a woman's ability to catch her z's? According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), most women complain of sleeplessness during perimenopause to post-menopause, with about 61% of post-menopausal women continuing to have issues with insomnia. Why does menopause affect a woman's ability to catch her z's? The NSFsays it has to do with the hormonal changes -- estrogen and progesterone -- that occur during menopause.
A study conducted in 2013 by scientists at the University of California San Franciscofound a lack of sleep can put adults at risk for a variety of chronic health issues. And a report published in Harvard University's Harvard Women's Health Watchin 2006 says adults who sleep less than six hours a night can suffer from such issues as memory loss, poor cardiovascular health, irritability, and problems with their metabolism and weight.
Sound hopeless as well as sleepless? Don’t despair. Get your snooze on and get back in touch with Mr. Sandman by trying these 4 tips:
Get a Move On
Move your body more during the day. Menopausal women who had more leisure physical activityduring the day reported rating their sleep as good. Those same women who did household physical activity during the day – like vacuuming and mopping – found they were sleeping through the night more (not to mention having cleaner houses).
Take Time to Relax a Bit
While you are lathering yourself in your latest and greatest wrinkle reducing moisturizer, think about preparing yourself for sleep, too. Before you hit the sack do something calming like reading a book while sipping on some chamomile tea, enjoying a candlelight bath, or just closing your eyes and listening to some soft music to relax yourself and get your body in to sleep mode. Prepare your bedroom so there are no distractions -- eliminate as much light and sound as possible. Think about turning off the TV and giving your smart phone a time out!
Keep Your Cool
Hot flashes can be another reason why women in menopause have a hard time staying asleep. To help combat the heat, Cleveland Clinicsuggests wearing loose-fitting, lighter weight clothing to bed. Make sure the sleeping area is well ventilated. And if spicy food is your thing, cool it on the spicy foods before bed!
Consider HT
Hormones matter! I’m talking Hormone Therapy (HT) here. An article published in Menopausal Medicine -- the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine -- says that studies have found hormone therapy helped menopausal women with sleeping issues, and helped them get more productive sleep. If sleeplessness is a major issue for you, discuss this option with your menopause gynecologist. If you don’t have one, use my Menopause Doctor Directory to find one near you.
So put away the toothpicks. No need to walk around with your “Eyes Wide Shut” (no, Tom Cruise, not referring to you). Using these simple tools can help you get your snooze back!
Suffering in silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN!
Enter our March Giveaway: Exercise your pelvic floor with the Intensity Health and Stimulation Device and Pour Moi gel combo!

Mid-life Moms and the Hot Flash Clash

What do you get when you combine teen hormones at puberty and mom’s yoyo hormones at menopause? With more and more women putting off having children till later,  as mom hits fifty, the kids are hitting twelve or thirteen. It’s called the Hot Flash Clash and it ain’t pretty. In my household that translated into me hitting the sack exhausted at 8:30 pm, while my daughter was not even brushing her teeth yet, let alone in bed.
It had taken seven years and two miscarriages, but we finally had two wonderful children 20 months apart. I was 36 for the first one, 38 for the second. I had no idea that meant I'd be a menopausal crone while my daughter was entering her maiden voyage.
Fast-forward to age 50. My 12 yr old daughter was moodier than my 14 yr old son, and clashed heartily with her mother. We had our best talks when we were in the car, not looking at each other. My son surfed the wave of his hormones as a burly caveman type, grunting rather than conversing, till at age 19 he began to show signs of being human.
And me? I was very restless. I needed a sabbatical from motherhood but that’s not allowed. So I went on retreats as often as I could. I enrolled in writing workshops, yoga weekends, joined a chorus which held annual competitions out of town, anything to get away. I could have called in the temporary insanity clause and written myself a prescription for rest and relaxation, but that might have led to a sanitorium!
I didn’t realize peri-menopause was going to last 7-10 years! With a little help from my women friends, and some short term therapy, I did not need a straitjacket. One day, the kids were old enough to leave home so of course we chose universities out of town (not really, but it did work out well). With any luck, you too will get time to yourself back and open up a creative circle in your living room.
Seriously though, a woman going through menopause needs a way to find alone time with no dogs to walk, groceries to buy and no-one screaming “Mom” down the hallway at all hours. You may need a summit meeting at Camp David to work out negotiations around sharing the load, but do  let  your family know big changes are going on and you need some help.
It’s the saintly, ‘selfless’ good mother mindset that makes us push ourselves way past our limits, responding to everyone’s needs while neglecting our own. And that’s just healthy. When we forget to take time out for little things like eating proper meals, getting to bed on time, playtime and soul-care, things get tense.
Hence, the clash: teens are good at manifesting general snarkiness. Mom is operating on a short fuse. Kids are oblivious, stomping around making last minute demands: she wants to be driven to the mall, and he forgot his lunch (again) and wants you to drive 30 minutes to school, or a last minute assignment requires a trip to Staples for a fold-out presentation board the day before it’s due. Another McDonald’s take-out supper. And major hot flashes and night sweats abound.
This all boomerangs into fatigue, resentment and frustration.  You know what they say:when Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
What can you do?
Set realistic expectations: For one thing, driving your kids’ lunch to school is a no-no. If he has to starve one day, at least it will help him remember to bring his lunch next time. Don’t set yourself up for being available 24-7 when you really don’t need to be.
Pay attention to your body signals. Are your shoulders aching? Are you running ragged, feeling stressed all the time? PAIN means pay attention inward now. Health challenges grow bigger when we don’t listen to the first signals.
Schedule time for yourself each week. Take a class, get a massage. Do what you love: piano lessons, pottery, drawing, something you consider “frivolous” and just for you. It’s time for you to be sensibly selfish and feed your soul.
Take 10 minutes a day to meditate/reflect– quiet time, stillness, staring out the window, day dreaming, gives us down time to hear our own wisdom. This goes against your training, I know, but it’s worth exploring.
Enlist help from others: your partner can drive Suzy to soccer while you get a morning off on Saturday. Do not get sucked into Supermom mode, doing it all yourself. Ask for help. Build a support system: girlfriends, female relatives who are supportive, internet forums about Menopause (Menopause Chit Chat, Owning Pink, Minnie Pauz); find allies. You are not alone.
Try and stay Zen when your teens’ moods are swinging wildly up and down. Mother yourself, and take good care of you! It’ll all be over before you know it….NO! I do not know where the peanut butter is!
   About Jennifer Boire:
Author Jennifer Boire, MA, has published two books of poetry and survived menopause while shepherding two pre-teens through puberty and supervising construction of a new home. She has been blogging about menopause and mid-life since 2006 (over 50,000 hits). In her research and many interviews, she discovered what women need to hear most is that they are not going crazy. She leads Creative Journaling classes and retreats for women at mid-life to help them cultivate faith in their inner resources. or of The Tao of Turning Fifty, What Every Woman in her Forties Needs to Know, she blogs as Musemother. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Facebook: Twitter :

Maintaining and refocusing our energy

Guest Articles 

By Joy in a post on one of my favorite sites, Comfort Queens

I just picked up some books this weekend on women entering 
                     their third stage, the history of Crones, and how this is the time in life we begin the 
                     inner journey to explore ourselves and our wisdom and spirituality. I'll share some of 
                     the things I discover in the Cherishing the Queen topic.

                     One thing interesting is that this used to be a very revered time, because it was only 
                     the elders who could orally pass down history and wisdom. However, the printing 
                     press began to change that, and as time has progressed through radio, TV, and 
                     now the Internet, information is so available at every age that the main role of the 
                     crone was eradicated.

                     There have been some recent changes, though, because of the Baby Boomers 
                     hitting their 50's. For the first time in history, a major section of the population is 
                     "older" and the biggest reflection of this is in marketing. Suddenly there are shiny 
                     ads for enhancing your "silver" hair instead of covering it up - one company has 9 
                     shades and their ads are in mainstream magazines. More research for medical 
                     remedies of "older" complaints is blossoming. Retirement and assisted living 
                     residences are sprouting up all over. HMO's are under the gun to allow alternative 
                     medical treatment, because this age group was the first one interested in 
                     "alternatives" with a large enough poplulation base to pay for it. The interest in 
                     Social Security and Medicare has never been so intense. There's power in numbers, 
                     and our volume is high. So, altho we may no longer rule around the fire ring of 
                     previous centuries, neither are we relegated to the corner to be useless. We've got a 
                     longer lifespan and better health to enjoy it.

                     The challenge on a personal level, as our interests and responsibilities change, is to 
                     maintain our health and figure out where we want to refocus our energies. That's the 
                     part we're all working on, and it's so great to have our own "support system" here. 
                     Some days I'm feeling really on top of it, and then there are those other days.....

Previous Articles: 
Here's To Your Health by Caryl  Frawley

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Are Your Menopausal Symptoms Being Correctly Treated?


Note: Minnie Pauz welcomes Dr. Scott Wasserman to the site! Women need to know there ARE physicians out there who take the time to listen and try to help us get our lives back in balance. After several long discussions with Dr. Scott, and hearing his philosophy about women's health, I invited him to be a regular contributor on this site. 

Are Your Menopausal Symptoms Being Correctly Treated? 
By Lora Neu; March Today’s Arizona Woman Magazine

Scott Wasserman, M.D., wants you to know that you’re not crazy!  Conventional wisdom dictates that if yu don’t feel well, and you are just not yourself, then something is wrong.  Fatigue, depression, decreased energy, decreased sex drive and migraine headache are symptoms many women experience as they enter their 40s or 50s.  However, these symptoms are often vague and difficult to measure.  Many women who are experiencing these problems are being treated with anti-depressants, sleeping pills, painkillers and other name brand drugs that are marketed to physicians.  If you think these treatments aren’t working for you, believe in yourself.

Dr. Wasserman, a specialist in reproductive aging and midlife medicine, has found that many of these symptoms are actually related to changing hormonal levels.  In his practice, Dr. Wasserman learned that perimenopausal and menopausal women had trouble finding the individualized care that is needed to create a solid foundation of health.  Dr. Wasserman points out that doctors are good at starting medications but not so good at stopping them.  Many women who are being treated for menopausal symptoms still may feel something is wrong.  They may not be receiving the right hormonal treatments.  
“Many people come to me because they don’t know what else to do,” Dr. Wasserman says.  Most patients trust their physicians and “develop a level of faith and comfort that they are being taken care of-but they are not getting better.”  This is where Dr. Wasserman’s “program approach” puts him on the cutting edge of individualized patient care.  When a patient comes to him, he helps her prioritize and take control of her life.  “This take a lot of work and personal investment, in addition to an open mind,” on the part of the doctor and the patient, he adds.

Dr. Wasserman believes perimenopausal and menopausal women are “underserved,” but the specialty is growing in acceptance.  Menopause doesn’t happen overnight, and some women in their early 40s who still have regular periods may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance.  Dr. Wasserman points out that some hysterectomies can be avoided, and the symptoms of depression, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can be mitigated by working with hormones.  With many patients, a “big piece of the problem can be hormonal,” he says.

If placed on hormone therapy, Dr. Wasserman recommends that women use natural hormones, which are “bio-identical”.  Ninety-eight percent of women on hormone therapy are getting Premarin or some other synthetic hormone derivative, which is not natural to the female human body.  In addition to natural hormone therapy, Dr. Wasserman draws from other treatment options including nutritional guidance and exercise therapy, depending on the individual patient’s needs.

“Hormonal problems should not be seen as an inevitable part of being a woman or something that is just to be accepted,” Wasserman says.  A decrease in hormone production is normal as we age.  Fatigue, depression, sexual difficulties and headaches are not acceptable as an inevitable drain on the quality of life.

When treating women with hormone replacement therapy, Dr. Wasserman uses EPT drops which contain estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  The drops are bio-identical, the same chemical make-up of the human hormones, and plant derived.  The patient can take the drops based on how she feels.  While the drops are a popular method of administration, Dr. Wasserman has found that hormone pellets are increasingly helpful in treating patients with hormone imbalances or deficiencies.  The pellets are injected under the skin two or three times a year.  Oral hormones must pass through the liver, making this a very unreliable method of administration, while the pellets are gradually released through the blood stream.  For women who do not respond well to other methods of hormone replacement, the effectiveness of the pellets is often profound.  Use of the pellets has been shown to decrease unnecessary tests, hospitalization and doctor visits.  Complaints such as chronic fatigue, heart palpitations, migraines and chronic aches and pains often decrease with the treatment.

“It’s a lonely feeling to not feel good,” Dr. Wasserman says.  He has found that people can go for years without receiving the help they need. Wasserman’s bottom line is “the relief of symptoms caused in large part by hormonal changes,” through the use of a number modalities.  He works to “unravel individual situations and get past the confusion.”  Once the issues are clarified, priorities and a course of treatment can be determined.  Rather than automatically prescribing a hormone, Dr. Wasserman first determines where he, and the patient, should put their energies, especially if there are a number of problems. 
“I’m not a hormone doctor,” Dr. Wasserman says.  “Hormone supplements are only a tool.  It’s all about getting the patient to the point where she does not need a doctor or a bag full of prescriptions.” 

Dr. Wasserman’s office is at 20201 N. Scottsdale Healthcare Dr., Ste. 250, in the Thompson Peak Medical Plaza in north Scottsdale.  He can be reached at (480)538-8188. 
Dr. Wasserman is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a Board Certified Menopause Clinician and a member of the North American Menopause Society.  He maintains hospital staff privileges at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea.

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Humor Me, Please!


Humor Me, Please 
By Patricia Older

          "Laughter is free, legal, has no calories, no cholesterol, no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and is 
          absolutely safe." Dale Irvin

          Between the home and office, I was running ragged. My friend Sandy, who had been patiently listening 
          to me complain about the housework piling up, suggested I shouldn't let the stress of it all get me 
          down. Grinning, she added, "I would let the mess build up, call the police, report a burglary, and let 
          them come and dust for fingerprints." Her "joke" had us both laughing and the housework no longer 
          seem so overwhelming.

          Research shows the way we handle stress impacts everything in our lives from our relationships to our 
          health. It has been connected to, among other things, heart disease, chronic fatigue, and low 
          self-esteem. "During menopause it is important we learn to recognize the different stresses in our 
          lives," says Karen Nash, director and lead trainer of Nash Associates, a motivational training firm, "We 
          need to be more in touch with ourselves, and recognize how much stress we can deal with 
          comfortably. The next step is to be assertive and say, 'this is too much for me now, I need to put that 
          off to do this.' The final step is the follow through."

          According to Karen, humor helps in re-claiming ourselves and promotes a healthier lifestyle. Laughter 
          is medicine for the soul. It oxygenates the system, stimulates endorphins, and promotes T-cell 
          production. It exercises 15 muscles in the face, releases tension, and increases communication. By 
          using humor and laughter in our daily lives, we can balance our stress levels and reward our physical, 
          mental, and spiritual selves. But, like any other skill, humor takes practice to master.

          Karen offered several tips:

          * Re-frame your thinking. Don't look at stresses in the same frame of mind. Next time you are in a 
          traffic jam, try to view your life as a situation comedy, or just ask yourself, "Okay, when does the fun 

          * Put humor into strategic places in your life. A sign on your desk which reads "It is hard to be a 
          Monday person in a Friday world", or make a point to say the worst joke of the day three times to 
          remember it, then share it. Pin up funny cartoons near your computer or workspace, send others to 

          * Look around for humor. Spend some time browsing through the humorous card section at the store. 
          Watch a sitcom you especially enjoy. Read the newspapers, church bulletin, or newsletters for slips of 
          the pen. Look for humor in road signs.

          * Don't take life too seriously. Fly a kite. Take a walk. When you make a mistake, say "Now I'm 
          smarter." Share a smile. Karen says, "Attitude is everything. If you realize the power of your own 
          attitude and your thoughts over your behavior ... you'll really appreciate how important humor is."

          Copyright 1996 by Patricia Older - Reprinted with permission 
          Write to Patricia at with comments or questions. 
          Back to main list of Patricia's articles


Previous Articles: 
Here's To Your Health by Caryl  Frawley 
Article by Judith Paley, MD 
Post from Cammie 
Read another good post from Joy

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  • Antidepressants Can Lead to Hot Flashes and Insomnia
    Antidepressants Can Lead to Hot Flashes and Insomnia
    Hot flashes and night sweats create a sudden feeling of warmth and sometimes a breakout of sweating in the upper half of the body. These flashes are experienced by 80% of women around the time of menopause, and can also occur with men due to a lessening of testosterone in middle age. 

    Another source of hot flashes can be medications. According to WebMD, "Taking certain medications can lead to night sweats. Antidepressant medications are a common type of drug that can lead to night sweats. From 8% to 22% of people taking antidepressant drugs have night sweats. Other psychiatric drugs have also been associated with this."   

    The “Sleep in America” poll results from the National Sleep Foundation recently found that more than half of all Americans (60%) experience a sleep problem every night or almost every night.  Interestingly, a ten-year study to discover which drugs are used to treat insomnia was published in the journal “Sleep”.  The study found that prescriptions for sleeping medications have decreased by 53.7%, but that antidepressant drugs prescribed for insomnia have increased by a surprising 146%. Examples of antidepressants prescribed for insomnia are trazodone,
    doxepin, trimipramine, and amitriptyline.  

    Medications often come with side effects.  For example, says the following about an antidepressant drug called Welbutrin -- "Nervous system side effects have frequently included headache (27%), insomnia (16% to 33%)....and sleep abnormalities." lists other possible side effects of antidepressants as sexual dysfunction, weight gain, dry mouth or throat, racing pulse, confusion, disturbed dreams, and an increased risk of suicide. 

    Nature has provided us with some natural sleep remedies and relaxants that have stood the test of time.  Regarding mineral deficiency as we age and at the time of menopause, the pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis says, “The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”

    One sleep remedy increasing in popularity is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. This natural sleep aid contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for restless leg syndrome, bone strength, aches and pains, and menopause insomnia. The formula also includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils, which makes the minerals more quickly assimilated than with tablets or capsules.  The softgel formulation provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep and is an effective alternative to medications.

    Alex R. of Ramseur, North Carolina says: "Sleep Minerals II has been a blessing for me.  It has given me the opportunity to withdraw from a highly addictive sleep medication over time, and has allowed me to sleep while going through this most difficult ordeal.  What's great about it is it doesn't lose its effectiveness, which is something that happens with sleep medications.  I am most thankful for this product."

    More and more people are seeking out effective natural sleep remedies in order to avoid the long list of side effects that come with medications.  For more information on Sleep Minerals II visit

    Nutrition Breakthroughs - March 5, 2014

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