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The Hormone Survival Guide for Perimenopause

By Nisha Jackson, Ph.D.

This book makes sense from beginning to end. Dr. Jackson has packed an astounding amount of relevant information into this small volume, which is beautifully organized, easy-to-read, informative, and positive. It is well written and well referenced.

Overall, this book outlines one of the most common-sense approaches to deal with the symptoms of hormone imbalance, a very common problem.

It provides answers to questions that many women have given up asking their physician. Physicians often just don't know the answers when it comes to nutritional or natural ways to maintain wellness, or treat symptoms. I believe it should be considered a must-read for physicians as well as any woman over the age of 20.

Many doctors do not appreciate the difference between synthetic hormones and bioidentical hormones which are sometimes called "natural" or "human identical" hormones. Synthetic hormones often differ in molecular structure from those produced by the body. Dr. Jackson is one of an increasing number of practitioners and scientists who believe that even a slight difference in the molecular configuration of a compound can produce a totally different response from its natural counterpart. In her practice, she finds that natural hormones more effectively correct symptoms and have fewer side effects.

The author explains that hormone-related problems have escalated over the past two decades, and discusses why. In addition, hormone levels decline with age. The decline brings with it the symptoms of perimenopause for many, but not all, women. How the hormones work is described accurately but in a way that the reader can easily understand.

Dr. Jackson advocates hormone testing for women who have typical and distressing perimenopausal symptoms. She discusses serum versus salivary testing, the use of hormones to treat hormone problems, placing emphasis on hormone balance and natural versus synthetic hormones.

She considers diet a powerful way to create hormone balance, and explains why women gain weight with age, and how insulin becomes a fat-storage hormone. Signs of insulin resistance are the same as those for low blood-sugar (hypoglycemia). When the ovaries produce less estrogen during perimenopause, the body's fat cells produce more. A six-step plan for weight/fat loss is described in detail, as are supplements that aid fat loss.

The positive benefits of exercise are emphasized, and for those not able, or not inclined, women are encouraged to start small - "…even 20 minutes of walking helps."

Overworked adrenal glands and "toxic" stress are huge factors in poor health. Doctors often miss this, and some women just can't handle the load. The book describes how stress affects the body, how to recognize the signs of "toxic" stress, and provides solutions including diet and exercises specifically targeted at this common symptom.

PMS has some symptoms similar to menopause, and a checklist is provided to aid assessment. Treatment options are offered. Dr. Jackson also discusses a "healthy" sex drive, why perimenopausal women often lose it, and talks about the hormones that affect it. Also explained is how undiagnosed, untreated low thyroid is "bad news". Finding a practitioner who will work with the patient to obtain an accurate diagnosis is of utmost importance.

Other hazards of perimenopause such as hot flashes, irregular period, thinning hair, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness, migraines and other headaches, bladder control, and sleep are all discussed and suggestions made.

Dr. Jackson has found twelve weeks to be a "magical" time frame for her patients. The weight management program is a 12-week plan, as is the hormonal overhaul plan. First the patient is medically evaluated, consulted regarding her problems, tested via blood samples for hormone imbalances, then scheduled back into the office to discuss lab results. From there individualized programs are set up.

One thing worthy of mention is that recommendations are made regarding treatment of hormone imbalance with hormone replacement, yet no mention is made as to how a post-cancer patient should approach the subject. The book assumes healthy patients when discussing hormones and dosages. I think I would be more comfortable seeing contraindications (throughout) as well as recommendations.

This book reinforces everything we have presented in our website which we feel contains unbiased comprehensive information for women regarding perimenopause, menopause, postmenopause and related health issues.

I appreciate the opportunity for review.

-- Joan McPhee, MH, WT
Assistant Editor, ProjectAWARE


Other information:

Softcover, 6" x 9", 192 pages
ISBN: 0-9742067-0-9
Published by: Larkfield Publishing, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Distributor: Independent Publishers Group (Orders only 800-888-4741)

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Uploaded April 2004, Updated Jan 2005