Jul 282014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgA few decades ago, we had a totally different definition of “high.” Today, as Baby Boomers, we often associate “high” with body temperature (translation: hot flashes), numbers when we step on the scale and, for some of us, blood pressure.

While it’s easy to spot rising body temperatures (red faces and sweat-drenched clothes) and expanding waistlines (busted buttons and zippers and snaps — oh my!), an increase in your blood pressure may not be so apparent.

Not tonight, dear, I’ve got a headache

Take, for example, the recent experience of one of my colleagues. One night, she woke up in the middle of the night with a horrific headache at the base of her skull. So she popped an ibuprofen and managed to go back to sleep. The next night, deja vu. On the third night, she woke up and entered “headache base of skull lying down” in the web search engine.

Now we all know it’s not usually a great idea to self-diagnose based on Internet search findings. My colleague found everything from migraines (she had these before, but told me that this headache felt different) to an abundance of spinal fluid to brain cancer to high blood pressure. Continue reading »

Jul 212014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgMenopause can be such a challenge. There’s the whole “fuzzy brain” scenario—you know, that “where is my car/my purse/my mind” experience.

Or maybe it’s your body that’s pooping out. You know exercise would help but you just don’t have it in you to work out.

And let’s not even talk about your sex drive. Right now, you feel like you have a starring role in “Sexless in the City!” You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling and you don’t know where to find it!

Is this just part-and-parcel of the whole menopause/low estrogen issue or could something else be going on—like a case of low testosterone (Low “T”)?

Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine in Newport Beach California explains, “While estrogen is critical, it is my belief that there is interplay between lowered estrogen and lowered testosterone levels in women as they age.”

What you need to know about testosterone:

  • It’s part of our hormonal makeup.Not just a guy thing, the steroid hormone testosterone is produced in smaller amounts by body—one place is our ovaries—and is essential for muscle tone, a healthy libido, and strong bones.
  • Enter menopause abruptly and testosterone can nose-drive.While women can start experiencing low “T” during their menopausal journey, which may begin a decade earlier than when menstrual periods stop, a quick jump into “the change” can send testosterone levels plummeting. According to Dr. Krychman, “Many feel that surgical or abrupt menopause can cause more severe and abrupt symptomology rather than a gradual decline. It seems that when science or disease interferes with Mother Nature, she retaliates by sudden withdrawal and plunging testosterone.”
  • Low-T symptoms are wide-ranging. When T levels drop, women can experience depression, fatigue, weight gain, bone and muscle loss, and cognitive dysfunction. Then there is the whole “low libido” issue, which can be dramatically decreased. As for orgasms, if we have them, they can be more “ho-hum” than “woo hoo!” if our “T” level is down, according to a report from The North American Menopause Society.
  • Boosting testosterone levels can help. Supplementing with testosterone can benefit your heart, mood, energy, and bone and muscle health. Additionally, testosterone can sustain skin elasticity and tone, encourage heart health, boost libido, help prevent osteoporosis risks, decrease body fat and increase muscle strength.

Continue reading »

Jul 072014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgIf you’re looking for any excuse to indulge in chocolate without feeling post-pleasure guilt: you’re in luck! July 7th is National Chocolate Day and studies show this sweet indulgence is loaded with flavonoids and anti-oxidants known to open clogged arteries, keep heart disease at bay and even improve your mental acuity. What’s not to like?

Columbus Discovered America…and Chocolate!

When Christopher Columbus was offered a sip of chocolate drink or ‘xocoatl’ by the Aztecs, he didn’t like the taste, but Spanish conquistador Don Hernan Cortes not only loved the drink, he knew he had a valuable commodity on his hands and loaded his return ship with cacao beans. He was right: people loved the chocolate drink, but it was a pleasure afforded only the very rich. Eventually, the secret recipe got out and before long chocolate was all the rage in Europe and America.

Popular Food with Healthy Benefits

The popularity of chocolate has prompted hundreds of medical studies to examine the effects on the human body. Dark chocolate, containing at least 70% cacao, possesses seemingly magical powers in opening arteries, minimizing insulin resistance and reducing morbidity. And that’s just for starters. Continue reading »

Jun 302014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgYes, the Constitution gave us freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms (or, in our menopausal state, the right to bare arms).

But think about it. Are you emotionally free? Do you have freedom from a negative self-image? From a lowered sense of worth? Freedom from the word “can’t”?

If not, it’s time to free yourself from the negative chatter (both internal and external) that holds you back from doing what you want to do or simply being who you want to be.

You know what I mean. As women in the throes of perimenopause and menopause, we constantly have to filter out those subliminal messages that make us feel less than fabulous.

I am reminded of the record album (yes, that dates me and I’m proud of it!) and book titled Free to Be… You and Me by Marlo Thomas and Friends back in ’72. Although the overriding theme was gender neutrality — promoting individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity — a major message was that anyone can achieve anything. That’s a concept we can take to heart as women truly in the prime of our lives.

Our knee-jerk reaction is to blame the media, the entertainment industry and advertising campaigns that — while perhaps not blatantly disparaging older women — glorify youth and, by association, cast a negative light on the natural process of aging. Continue reading »

Jun 232014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgMom probably told you to act like a lady, but did she ever tell you to eat like a lady? This breakthrough book does.

Men and women are different. Period. (We get periods; they don’t.)

So it makes sense that we gain — and lose — weight differently from men. That’s exactly what author Staness Jonekos emphasizes in her latest book, Eat Like a Woman.

Jonekos is not only an author, but also a women’s health and empowerment advocate and one of the original executive producers who launched Oprah Winfrey’s first network, Oxygen Media. She spent time researching these gender differences and pulled all this fabulous info together for us in Eat Like a Woman.

She teamed up with Dr. Marjorie Jenkins to medically review the Eat Like a Woman 3-Week 3-Step program. Dr. Jenkins refers to herself as a “womanologist” and is a 2013 Texas SuperDoc. She is a professor of medicine and associate dean for women in Health and Science at Texas Tech University Health Science Center, where she holds the J Avery “Janie” Rush Endowed Chair for Excellence in Women’s Health. She created the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health at Texas Tech. Continue reading »

Jun 162014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgResearchers now know that women are 70% more likely to suffer from depression than man and menopause’s hormonal roller coaster can aggravate the problem. Experts say it’s time to slow down and realize that the mind-body connection is a powerful one. And, much as we hate to admit it—we’re not in charge of the universe—even though sometimes we like to think so!

Taking care of parents and kids while simultaneously chasing a paycheck wears you down. Stir in a few menopausal hormones and you can easily find yourself overwhelmed, stressed and depressed. However, psychiatrist Dr. Harry Croft, principal researcher at Clinical Trials of Texas, says learning to put yourself at the top of the list is critical to restoring a healthy balance.

“Women suffering from depression outnumber men by a two to one ratio and menopause can be the tipping point for seeking the help you need,” says Dr. Croft.

“Stress and menopause can make for an endless anxiety-riddled loop, requiring women to examine whether their current approach to managing their health is really working. For example, low estrogen can make you feel crummy and you won’t function as well. Throw in lack of sleep due to insomnia or waking in the middle of the night and boom—you’re super stressed,” explains Dr. Croft. Continue reading »

Jun 092014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgYou may feel like you’re going through perimenopause or menopause all alone, but if you’re married, your husband probably feels like he’s going through it with you! Every night you toss, turn and throw off the bed covers, is probably an eye opener for him. Literally. Every time you complain about hot flashes, he sweats it out. No doubt he’s been the brunt of your menopausal mood swings. And sex? It’s a good test of his memory.

So this Father’s Day promise hubby you’ll take care of yourself… to show how much your care for him.

Find excuses TO exercise

Exercise is important at any age. For women in the midst of perimenopause and menopause, however, exercise is more important than ever. If your ever-tightening waistband isn’t enough reason to get you moving, these facts should:

  • Exercise will help you sleep better at night.
  • Weight-bearing exercises help stave off osteoporosis.
  • Exercise can help improve your posture, giving you more confidence.
  • Exercise raises your metabolism, which can help shrink your expanding waistline.
  • According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, improving your overall mood.
  • Yoga has been credited with improving sexual enjoyment, but any kind of exercise increases blood flow and can boost your libido.

Continue reading »

Jun 022014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgThe days are longer, the temperatures warmer, the sky seems bluer. If — despite all this — your mood seems bluer, too, it’s probably because you dread donning a bathing suit for the first time this season.

Let’s face it, it’s inevitable. Like the changing of the seasons, during perimenopause and menopause our bodies change too (and not always for the better).

All is not lost (especially those pesky extra pounds). Seriously, you can either wallow in self-loathing or do something about it. Here are a few ways you can make the best of — and take control of — the situation:Find a swimsuit that’s flattering for your body. One size does not fit all. However, it doesn’t mean you’re relegated to a style of bathing suit your mother might wear. (That goes for the bathing cap and nose plugs, too.) You can find a swimsuit that’s flattering and fashionable. I love the Spanx swimsuits! They are brilliant! You also can camouflage a lot with a stylish cover-up.

  • Maintain good posture. Holding your head high, tummy in, shoulders back and tatas out projects an image of self-assurance… and makes you look taller and slimmer, too. Instead of flats, wear sandals with a bit of a heel to give you a longer, leaner look.
  • If you’re not already exercising on a regular basis, start NOW. Weight-bearing exercises are not only important to stave off osteoporosis, they tone your muscles. Flab is flab (not fab), whether you’ve got a slender physique or a little more meat on your bones.
  • Drink lots of water. During the summer months, it’s especially important to hydrate. If you’re spending time outdoors, don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Take a filled water bottle with you wherever you go. Sipping throughout the day is easier than chugging your daily intake all at once. Keeping hydrated will result in healthier skin and hair… and a more beautiful you. Ice-cold water will also cool you from the inside out when you’re experiencing a hot flash. Stay away from carbonated beverages, as they can cause bloating.

Continue reading »

May 262014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgFor many women in their teens and twenties, seeking the perfect 10 of a tan used to be a full-time job on hot summer days. However, those of us going through menopause need only glance at the age spots on our hands to wish we had a ‘do over!’

Skin cancer incidence is up by an alarming rate and according to the Mayo Clinic, it has increased eight-fold overall in middle-aged women since 1970, with women in their late forties showing a marked increase in melanoma. That information has prompted studies of a menopausal hormonal connection to this disease with mixed results.

Spot Skin Cancer

First line of defense is you and the knowledge of your own body. It’s wise to spend one morning a month carefully looking at your skin armed with a hand mirror to see those hidden areas such as under your arms and behind your ears and even between your toes. Tech lovers will be happy to know that smart phones are in on the act with teledermoscopy software for mobile devices. Zoom, point, shoot and text suspicious spot shots to your dermatologist!

The Skin Cancer Foundation lists three basic types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. That’s the one that can be invasive and very lethal. However, as we age, most growths are what doctors call ‘barnacles.’ They’re ugly, but harmless. So, how can you tell what’s what? Continue reading »

May 192014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgJust as your children can’t wait to be out of school for the summer, you can’t imagine how you’re going to cope. Don’t get me wrong. We all love our kids, right? Whether you work outside the home, work from home or are a stay-at-home mom, you’ve got to admit that the prospect of having them under foot (and under your skin) all summer is a bit daunting.

So if you’re looking forward to a stress-free summer, look for ways to make the best of the situation. After all, perimenopause and menopause is stressful enough, thank you very much. Having your kids home all summer long is stress on steroids (or hormones, as the case may be).

There’s the dread “I’m bored” from school-age children all day long, and from college-age kids all night long. It’s enough to make a grown woman cry. (Of course, anything can make you cry when your hormones are in a constant state of flux.)

Deal with the rising thermostat (internal and external)

As if hot flashes weren’t bad enough, your internal temperature is competing with the external temperature for a Guinness record. You can turn down the A/C at home, but you may find the rest of your family wearing thermal underwear in the house.

One way to cope with both the kids’ boredom and your own boiling body is to head to the nearest watering hole. I’m not talking about the neighborhood bar (although, while alcohol can trigger your beloved hot flashes, an occasional glass of red wine can be quite calming). I’m talking about a pool, lake or beach. This will help you cool off, in more ways than one. You can simply escape underwater. You’ll be both out of the sun’s harsh rays and out of earshot from your kids’ whining. Sweat, dunk, repeat. Continue reading »

May 122014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgPerimenopause symptoms are like a rollercoaster ride. One minute you’re up, the next minute you’re down and if you want to get off when it gets really scary—like when the car goes upside down, you’re stuck! Does this mean that you’ll never feel balanced during perimenopause? No, you can get off that ride and feel much better. It turns out that yoga exercises can help you reduce stress, relax and yes, even smile again!

I know you’ve heard it a million times before, but it’s true; exercise can really do wonders for you, especially when you’re in a bad mood. My recent article on how to ease menopausal symptoms with exercise explains how getting off your duff can reinvent your life. I’ve even covered how yoga beats up insomnia!

Doctors like what yoga can do for your body and your mind!

A recent study by Dr. Beth Cohen, “Yoga: An Evidence-Based Prescription for Menopausal Symptoms,” published by the Journal of the North American Menopause Society found that the 120 women between 40 to 50 who participated in the study; yes, these women had a variety of menopausal symptoms. They followed a regime of five 60-minute yoga sessions for eight weeks had a significant reduction in symptoms. The study also showed that they increased their concentration and attention span as well.

Why does yoga work so well? The breathing exercises can help gently reduce stress. The various yoga poses assist in keeping and gaining flexibility and muscle strength. Put those positives together and say bye-bye to yucky and unwanted perimenopause symptoms! Another study by the Roosevelt University Stress Institute in Chicago found that “Yoga stretches reduced physical stress while increasing physical relaxation.”

If you’re worried that adding yoga to your life means you’ll have less free time, you won’t. You can do poses while watching TV—talk about multitasking! Or close the door to your office and practice a pose or two. Continue reading »

May 052014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgRemember, M&M’s, that milk chocolate candy that melted in your mouth—not in your hand? At our age, M&M may have another meaning—Motherhood and Menopause. You may find that it is you that is melting down as your perimenopause and menopause hot flashes and other symptoms are spiraling out of control.

Motherhood and Menopause are strange bedfellows. With more women giving birth at 40+, the two M’s can become a challenging tag team.

How to keep calm and carry on, while not losing it with your kids on a daily basis?

Menopause Remedies:

  • Friends
  • Diet
  • Menopause Doctor

Friends

The sisterhood is a powerful group. Friends are ageless—be sure to reach out to them, especially when menopause and depression move in. Even the renowned Mayo Clinic asserts friends will ‘enrich your life and improve your health.’

Menopause support means we share, we listen, and we help each other through good and bad times. It is wonderful to have a supportive group of friends of all ages that you can talk with, learn from and openly share your challenges and feelings. No matter whether you meet for coffee, a drink, a brisk walk or quick phoner –it’s amazing how much better you will feel sharing with your friends! Cheapest therapy ever! Continue reading »

Apr 282014
 

http://ellendolgen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/0428MM-2.jpgWhen my cousin Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer, she approached it with a skier’s mentality. She knew it would be an uphill battle with bumps along the way. And, although downhill is a good thing to a skier, she looked forward to the next pinnacle in her life.

I’d like to thank Karen for letting me share her story. I think her attitude and approach will be an inspiration to others.

When Karen recounts her breast cancer journey, she doesn’t candy-coat it. She shoots from the hip. That’s Karen.

For Karen, her journey began in in June 2010, when she had her annual mammogram. A few days later, she received a call from her doctor, who told her that a second picture was needed. Karen shrugged it off. Continue reading »

Apr 142014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgIf you’re smoking while you’re going through menopause, you may want to put down that cigarette. Almost every day, there are studies being released about what can happen to you if you smoke and are dealing with perimenopause or menopause. The information may help you quit smoking that much faster.

In a recent research study published online in the journal Menopause, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania report the first evidence showing that smoking causes earlier signs of menopause. The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Perelman School of Medicine Translational and Clinical Research Center, and the Perelman School of Medicine Center of Excellence for Diversity.

In an announcement of the study’s findings, it was noted that although previous studies have shown smoking hastens menopause by approximately one to two years regardless of race or genetic background, this study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that genetic background is significantly associated with a further increased risk of menopause in some white women who smoke. In the case of heavy smokers, this can be up to nine years earlier than average in white women with certain genetic variations. Genetic variation refers to diversity in gene frequencies, and can refer to differences between individuals or to differences between populations. In this case, we’re talking about differences between individual women in the study. The genetic variants were present in 62 percent of white women in the study population. Continue reading »

Apr 072014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgCelebrities and friends were shocked when L’Wren Scott, glamorous model-turned-designer girlfriend of Mick Jagger, committed suicide in her upscale New York apartment.   Once again, life is not always as it seems and fighting to maintain that illusion can be deadly, especially as women grow older.  Scott’s suicide, at the age of 49, is raising the question of whether undiagnosed menopausal depression played a role.  Although that is just a theory, experts now know that the risk of suicide increases dramatically as we cross the threshold of middle age.

Although there’s no definitive link between celebrity designer L’Wren Scott’s suicide and menopausal depression, the tragedy spurred a fellow celeb to hop on Twitter and get the conversation rolling about menopausal depression and whether women are really paying attention to the signs. Recently, a study by the CDC showed that suicides in middle-aged persons (ages 35-64) increased by 28% over a 10-year time frame.  It’s probably no coincidence that those high numbers reflect the transition of vibrant baby boomers into middle and older age.

If you really don’t feel like your “normal” self and are struggling to find any joy in your day, please take the time to be evaluated and treated by a knowledgeable doctor.  If these feelings of depression are happening in partnership with perimenopause or menopause, step back and take stock. It could be menopausal depression creeping in alongside the hot flashes and insomnia. Continue reading »

Mar 242014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgAre 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 NSF says it has to do with the hormonal changes — estrogen and progesterone — that occur during menopause. Continue reading »

Mar 172014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgShe shoots….She SCORES menopausal symptom happiness! And the crowd goes wild! (Ahhhhh)

When you say “March Madness” many people will automatically think of the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournaments. However, if you are speaking with a woman in perimenopause or menopause, “March Madness” is not a game she wants to go into overtime with. Menopausal symptoms like mood swings may cause her to be “slam-dunking” one minute, and the next her family is suspending her for “alley-ooping” for the other team. You’ll be thinking your team player has turned into an out of control Dennis Rodman!

And if being moody isn’t enough, according to a six-year study published in Menopause, researchers found that women with the highest levels of stress were more than five times (I repeat, five times!) more likely than normally stressed women to report hot flashes. Mood swings and hot flashes, that combination is enough to make you want to turn in your final four tickets and bench warm it up at the bar!

Before your perimenopause or menopause lady turns into Rodman, read my 4 simple tips to combat those mood swings: Continue reading »

Mar 102014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgYou wrap it in scarves, decorate it with necklaces, and swoon when it gets a kiss. Your neck gets a lot of attention, but, unfortunately, not the attention it really needs. See, situated in your neck between your voice box and collarbone, and wrapped around your windpipe, is your thyroid—and it affects everything you do and are.

The small, butterfly-shaped gland pumps thyroid hormone straight into your bloodstream, where it circulates throughout your body to influence practically every system in your body. For example, it’s responsible for keeping your brain focused, energy up, reproductive system churning, and skin, nails, and hair luxurious and beautiful.

So when it goes on the fritz—and it has for 20 million Americans—everything suffers, and get this: most of those victims are women, according to Dr. Daniel Einhorn, M.D., an endocrinologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. Lucky us, right? The primary cause of thyroid disorders is the immune system attacking the body’s thyroid, and since women are more prone to developing autoimmune diseases (such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis) than are men, we get the bulk of thyroid conditions, including hyper- and hypothyroidism. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, women over 50 are at the greatest risk for thyroid disorders. Continue reading »

Mar 032014
 

Thought you were done learning about your body at age 12? Well your uterus and your ovaries might disagree!

Listen up ladies, perimenopause arrives unscheduled, uninvited, and often sooner than you think.  There is no one- size-fits all age when perimenopause begins.  Many woman start experiencing perimenopausal symptoms as young as 38, others may be 48. There is no right or wrong age, and you won’t receive a “save the date” to let you know when the festivities will begin.   When you have been without a period for 12 consecutive months you are officially in menopause.  The average age of menopause is 51.  Many women find that they experience premature menopause, which means that your period has stopped for twelve consecutive months before the age of 40. Premature menopause may occur as a result of one’s genetic make-up, an illness, or medical procedures such as a hysterectomy. Continue reading »

Feb 242014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgDo you love those male enhancement commercials on television as much as I do? Ever notice that the men are 50-something and the women appear to be late 30′s, early 40′s? Is there an unwritten rule somewhere that men should have a healthy sex life until old age, while women lose interest in sex altogether? It certainly seems that way. There are countless products that support a man’s virility. Women, on the other hand, are left wondering if it’s a lost cause, resigning ourselves to live out the second halves of our lives as though we’re holed up in a convent. The reality is the older we get, the more in tune we become with our bodies. As we learn to identify and adjust to our menopausal symptoms, we take comfort in knowing we’ve had the time to learn what we want in a sexual experience. Women have the right to toe-curling, earth shattering orgasms, just like men. But due to what seems to be a double standard, having a fulfilling sex life after menopause just isn’t a reality for all women.

Ladies, there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel. Continue reading »

Feb 172014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgAs little girls, we dressed up in white dresses and held make-believe weddings. We dreamed of a future on Prince Charming’s arm every Valentine’s Day, and assumed happily-ever-afters included marriage.

Forget that! All grown up now, increasingly more women are trading their childhood dreams for a new, marriage-free future. Whatever you want to call the cause–independence, a love for cats, or just thinking outside the engagement ring box — the U.S. marriage rate is its lowest in more than a century — and down 60 percent just from 1970, according to a 2013 study by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Marriage and Family Research. Meanwhile, women are marrying later than ever before, at the ripe old age of 27. OK, that’s really not that ripe — or old — but our grandmothers would sure say otherwise!

So who isn’t getting hitched this Valentine’s Day? Is it women in their later years who are going through perimenopause or menopause? In actuality, it’s just the average woman who either hasn’t found love — or who has, but just isn’t interested in all of the trappings of marriage. Maybe that includes you. Continue reading »

Feb 102014
 

http://www.shmirshky.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Ellen_Dolgen_Menopause_Monday.jpgTiny candy sugar hearts with endearing messages, chocolates in red heart-shaped boxes, flowers, sexy lingerie – it’s Valentine’s Day! Want to fall in love this Valentine’s Day? Before heading to the corner bar or the latest online dating site, think about when you last sent yourself some love. The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research found that college students who base their own self-worth on what others think, and not their own value as human beings, often pay a mental and physical price for it. So, ladies, this Valentine’s Day – let’s channel Mae West, “I don’t like myself. I’m crazy about myself!”

Here are 4 lovey-dovey tips to help you become your own perfect Valentine:

Start with yourself! Then send the love forward.

Make a mental note to love yourself – find some self-compassion. Value your wisdom, your life experience, your potential. Make a list of all the loving qualities and characteristics that make you an amazing person and take them to heart. (Go YOU!) Look at yourself as you do your best friend – with kindness, admiration and love. In referencing a study by psychologists Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia, Psychology Today notes, “True happiness lasts longer than a burst of dopamine, however, so it’s important to think of it as something more than just emotion. Your sense of happiness also includes cognitive reflections, such as when you give a mental thumbs-up or thumbs-down to your best friend’s sense of humor, the shape of your nose, or the quality of your marriage.” Every life lesson you’ve experienced has added to your wisdom Continue reading »

Feb 032014
 

Ellen Dolgen Menopause MondaysNext time you’re with a group of girlfriends, look to your left. Then look to your right. Of the three of you, one probably has heart disease, the number-one killer of women in the United States.

More than one in three women have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association, and every 90 seconds, one of them suffers a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Now only 53 percent of women recognize that cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women,” says Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. “Said another way, almost half of women still do not know. Importantly, among the 53 percent, most do not feel that cardiovascular disease is their leading healthcare threat, so women continue to fail to make the numbers personal.”

I first encountered heart disease at the young age of 11, when my lovely father, who was 42 at the time, suffered his first heart attack. Through the years, my family watched him go through one open-heart surgery, countless diet and lifestyle changes, and, ultimately, his passing at just 58 years young. Continue reading »

Jan 272014
 

Ellen Dolgen Menopause MondaysAs women of 2014, we have grown to have a keen sense of intuition. This intuition has not only driven us throughout our lives, but has allowed us to act upon and make decisions regarding situations we are not fully comprehensive of, per say, a sneaky cheating ex you just knew was doing you dirty! We gain knowledge and act upon this intuition more and more as we grow older, which is beneficial getting into the menopause and susceptible cancerous stages of our 2014 lives.

Earlier this past year, 63-year-old Molly took a bathroom break on the drive home from a family vacation and noticed a small red speckle on her toilet paper. This postmenopausal woman hadn’t had a menstrual cycle in five years and immediately had her guard up. Of course excuses such as a bladder infection came immediately to mind, but she knew deep down there was something just not quite right—and an hour later she found another drop. Continue reading »

Jan 202014
 

Ellen Dolgen Menopause Mondays

To HRT or not to HRT? The debate over hormone replacement therapy is one that has confounded doctors, confused the menopausal, and, ultimately, jeopardized the health of millions of women. Not on my watch! So buckle up and get ready for a crash-course in all things hormone replacement therapy!

First, let’s get something straight: Most of the confusion out there isn’t the spawn of some evil plot. It’s simply about the misinterpreted findings of one landmark, long-term study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). The study examined estrogen and combination hormone therapy use among menopausal women to establish their effects on women’s most common causes of death, disability, and poor quality of life–cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. However, the study ended prematurely after an interim review found an increased risk of adverse health events associated with combined hormonal therapy of conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA). Continue reading »