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How are you celebrating the Fourth of July? Hosting a party, attending someone else's patriotic powwow, or watching fireworks (or all three!), I ask that you keep one thing in mind all day: independence. Of course, I am a huge fan of the USA, I will be sporting my red, white and blue on Wednesday, and I'm a big fan of stars and stripes, but the independence I'm talking about is much more personally empowering, deliberate and mind-focused.

With the long-standing taboo surrounding menopause, most women don't know what to expect. They walk into perimenopause (or are rather pushed into it by Father Time) without a road map. It's easy to get lost with no plan, especially when contradictory bits of information on the Internet send you driving in circles. You may be in full control of your life before perimenopause, prepared for any speed bump that comes your way, but if you're not prepared with the knowledge of the 34 symptoms and their effect on your body, you may end up feeling like you were kidnapped, blindfolded and dropped off in nowhere land.

You can prevent this! The first thing we have to make sure we understand is that perimenopause does not happen when you're old. Aging is a touchy subject for a lot of women, and the fact that most people think menopause happens when you're old makes perimenopause guilty by association. Understanding that perimenopause starts between the ages of 38 and 48 will open your mind to educating yourself about this stage in life. Don't give your menopause the chance to hold you captive.

If you educate yourself, you will have a good idea of what you may expect in perimenopause. Once you enter it, you will already have a familiarity with the Menopause Symptoms Charton pages 168-69 of Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, and you will be more in-tune with your body and more comfortable and thorough in charting your symptoms. With your patterns recorded, you will be more readily able to explain your experiences to your perimenopause and menopause specialist (find one here!).

Your independence from menopause also depends on your willingness to look into options for symptom relief. I am very happy with my bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and the North American Menopause Society recently came out with a new position statementexplaining that it may not be as dangerous as reported after the WHI trials of 2002. To wade through the myths and get the quick facts, read "Take the 'Bite' Out of HRT 

HRT is not the only option. If you'd rather keep things all natural, you can find relief from hot flashes with the Kool Tooltowel, relief from night sweats with Dry Babe Sleepwearfor "Hot" Mamas, and relief from vaginal dryness with Inner Intimates Vaginal Renewal ComplexMany women find relief from menopause symptoms in soy products as well.

Keep your personal independence in mind on Independence Day and every day to make sure you keep it. You can find your way to happiness on the 4th in the fireworks and barbecues and you can find hormone happiness, too, if you're simply given a road mapand travel guide 

Happy Independence Day!

Remember: Reaching out is IN. Suffering in silence is OUT!

Ellen Dolgen is the author of Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness — a cut-to-the-chase book on perimenopause and menopause that's filled with crucial information, helpful guides, and hilarious and heartfelt stories. Known for her humor, compassion, and sassy personality, Ellen has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including: the Rachael Ray Show, The Doctors, Oprah Radio, Playboy Radio, "Tell Me More" on NPR, Doctor Radio, and dozens of other regional and national media outlets. Ellen is a regular guest on the popular radio show, "Broadminded," on Sirius XM Radio (Stars XM 107) and KSWB Fox 5 Morning News San Diego. When Ellen isn't promoting women's health and wellness, she's busy trying her best not to eat all the ice cream in the freezer.

For more from Ellen, visit EllenDolgen.com

 Dolgen“:http://EllenDolgen.com/

Follow Ellen Dolgen on Twitter @EllenDolgen 

Like shmirshky on Facebook 

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Jun 30, 2012
    • I’m post menopause - I think it’s been nearly a year and a half since my last period. I still have some hot flashes although not as many as during perimenopause. Some of the symptoms of perimenopause have now subsided. But, some of the women I know who have started on HRT have told me they stopped because they gained weight. I worked hard to lose weight last year and really don’t want to start packing it back on. What have you heard about this?

      thanks



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Ellen Dolgen wrote Jul 2, 2012
    • Hi Cynthia,

      Actually,that is the opposite of what I have found. Usually, when you find "hormone happiness" your weight follows suit.  Be sure to get my book, chart your symptoms on pages 168-69.  If you have marks on this page - find a Menopause Doctor to help develop an individual plan just for you. It is best to be on bioidentical hormones.(go to ellendolgen.comand check out our Menopause Doctor Directory If a doctor has not been recomended in your area...you can use the helpful tips on pages 47-50.) Good Luck! Keep me posted.  Hugs, Ellen



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