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By far the most frequent question I get about menopause is "WHEN does it start?" Women between the ages of 36 and 55 ask the same thing: "I've missed X number of periods. Is it menopause?"
I can tell you that technically, menopause begins after you have missed periods for 12 months, but of course that technical answer doesn't help much because by the time you've missed 12 periods, you KNOW you're in menopause. What women really want to know is whether they are starting menopause.
Missed periods can be caused by a lot of things, the two most frequent being pregnancy and menopause. To even see those two words together strikes fear in many women's hearts. I have a good friend who started missing her periods and hoped it was because she was pregnant, but alas, it was menopause. Only your hormones know for sure.
So a 47-year-old who is asking me about two missed periods (and even in her email I can sense the panic in her question) could be facing two very differe...
____________ Resources Depression is difficult enough, but for pregnant women, it can present additional problems. Most antidepressant medications are classified to be FDA pregnancy category C or D. Category C means that animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women or that animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Category D means that studies, adequate well-controlled or observational, in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy may outweigh the potential risk. Neither of these are attractive to pregnant women; they're very worrisome. Things are no less worrisome and confusing after the baby is born. Nobody can really say whether it's safe for the baby to breast feed while the mother is taking antidepressants. Most antidepressants are labeled as "safety unknown" or "pro...
I met Cathy Alter in Georgetown a few months ago, and she is a riot! We really hit it off, but Cathy and I are very different. We're about the same age, but she strikes me more as an artsy intellectual chick who spent the 1980's following the Grateful Dead than a blonde girly girl like me who read Seventeen magazine religiously while listening to the Go Go's at the Country Club pool. I point this out because she doesn't seem like the type of woman who would look to women's magazines for advice--she's too cerebral. Well, several years ago Cathy Alter found herself divorced with all sorts of drama in her life when she decided she needed help. She decided to commit to reading about a dozen women's magazines for a year in hopes of getting her life back on track, and landing a good man. She did just that, and the whole story is told in her book Up For Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex, and Starting Over. You wi...
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