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Q: What are the most common symptoms of menopause?

A: The degree and number of symptoms vary in women and include: Bad taste in mouth and/or bad breath Gum problems including bleeding Body odor, hair loss or thinning Weight gain Depression; irritability and mood swings Gastrointestinal distress such as indigestion, flatulence, and bloating Rapid heart beat Trouble sleeping through the night including sweats General anxiety Loss of libido and vaginal dryness Irregular periods (shorter or longer; heavier or lighter) Extreme fatigue Trouble concentrating, feeling disoriented or confused Significant memory lapses Itchy, crawly skin Tinnitus (ringing in ears) Incontinence, often upon sneezing or laughing Sore joints and muscles that ache including muscle tension Breast tenderness Osteoporosis

Q: What is the difference between menopause and perimenopause?

A: When a woman stops having a menstrual period, typically over a period of 12 consecutive months, she is considered menopausal. Perimenopause is the period just before final menses when a woman experiences many of the symptoms of menopause including: night sweats, depression, poor sleep, vaginal dryness, etc.

Q: Should women ask their doctors for hormone replacement therapy? What about the studies that claim estrogens are dangerous?

A: Women have to be cautious with HRT, but you can read the results of the Women’s Health Initiative here for yourself: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/

Q: Are there any natural alternatives available?

A: Some women report that they experience symptom relief by using vitamins, herbs, botanicals and/or phytoestrogens including soy isoflavones, calcium, Vitamin E, chasteberry, cohosh, among others. Of course it is always wise to consult a physician before using anything new especially if you are currently on any kind of medication. Q: I have been hearing a lot about bioidentical hormones. What are they and where do I find out more about them?

Q: My sex drive has diminished significantly. Is there anything I can do about that?

Q: I’ve gained more weight than at any other time in my life. Is this reversible?