From Menopause Expert Ellen Dolgen: Becoming Your Own Health Advocate



Menopause expert Ellen Dolgen kindly let me share her article on becoming your own medical advocate. I’ve learned that many doctors fail women when it comes to menopause education, especially by not warning us of what to expect as perimenopause and menopause set in. Knowledge is indeed power. Take it away, Ellen. Thanks for sharing this post and for all you do for women everywhere!

You can’t leave your perimenopause and menopause symptoms on the kitchen counter when you leave the house.

You can’t pretend to be “fine” when you are dripping wet from a hot flash, sleepless and irritable. Your family, co- workers, loved ones, and friends know when you are not feeling well.

Here are some simple tips that will help you become your own best Health Advocate:

  1. You are not alone! According to, “An estimated 6,000 U.S. women reach menopause every day.  That is over 2 million of us per year. In addition, more women are living beyond age 65. A women’s average life expectancy in the western world is estimated at 79. 7 years.”
  1. Trust How You Feel! – You know when you don’t feel well. If you go to a healthcare provider to get menopause advice and help and your provider tells you, “You’re too young to be in menopause”, don’t sit there and accept it! Do not go home and suffer in silence.
  1. Reach out and get the help you need and deserve!
  • Get the proper hormone testing to measure your levels such as DHEAS, Estradiol, Free and Total Testosterone, FSH, Progesterone, Thyroid Panel, just to name a few.
  • Chart your symptoms. I have worked with doctors to develop a helpful chart that will help you to quickly and accurately explain how you feel to your doctor.  You can download it here.
  • Understand your options – both hormonal and non-hormonal.
  • Communicate openly and honestly to your loved ones so that you can get their love and support.
  • Remember, if you do not feel better, communicate that with your menopause specialist. If they are unable to help you – find another one! No divorce attorney is needed!

You CAN get the help that you need and deserve if you educate yourself.  Be proactive about your health, rather than reactive.

For more detailed support, download Ellen’s FREE eBook, MENOPAUSE MONDAYS The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause. This is a comprehensive guide to all things menopause—tips on how to find a menopause specialist, the tests, the symptoms, treatments, and long-range effects on a woman’s health.

Ellen’s motto is:   Suffering silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN!

Follow Ellen Dolgen on Twitter.

Like her menopause guide, Shmirshky, on Facebook.

Get the latest menopause news delivered to your inbox every week when you sign up  at  for Ellen’s free Menopause Mondays Newsletter!

Thank you, again, Ellen. Enjoy that adorable granddaughter!

Here’s an article that I wrote for Empowher on educating yourself about menopause. I am bonkers over this topic. It’s so darn important!



Menopause Support: If These Porches Could Talk

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These were the porches on my house around 1912. Sadly, lumber was hard to get after World War Two. The porches were in a state of disrepair, and the upper level and the sides were taken down and not replaced.

I got to wondering: What if these porches could talk? What stories could they tell? What conversations would they reveal? Any menopause discussions?

In “Nine Ways to Even Out Menopausal Mood Swings,” Everyday health writes:

According to research from the University of Michigan, women who feel emotionally close to a friend have higher levels of the hormone progesterone, which helps relieve stress and boost mood. If you’re having a bad day or week or year, round up your closest gal pals for some much needed bonding, or consider joining a support group online or in your community.

Even today, many women keep silent about their menopausal woes. Shatter the silence! Talk with your friends and even strangers. I once had a great hot flash discussion waiting in line at a  7- Eleven.

Don’t miss these tips by my friend and menopause expert Ellen Dolgen, who reports that fifty million women are going through menopause in the United States right now. Porch power!




Gynecologists and Menopause Education



I snapped this photo in Luxembourg when Cliff and I were on our river barge adventure. The blog is never far from my mind! It’s the perfect photo to introduce a post by menopause expert Ellen Dolgen. Ellen recaps a recent study on menopause education and medical students.

More Menopause-Focused Education Required for Doctors- YES PLEASE!


Despite the fact that nearly two million women every year reach menopause (that’s equivalent to 6,000 women each day), many experts agree that OB/GYN residents are not being properly prepared to address menopause-related health issues. A new study published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), however, demonstrates how adding a menopause-focused curriculum is helping residents to meet this growing challenge.

The study comes out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where they created a two-year curriculum including lectures and labs focused on menopause and related health issues.  Between 2011 and 2013, 34 OB/GYN residents completed the menopause curriculum annually.  Prior to attending the menopause sessions, a majority of residents—78.7%–did not feel comfortable managing menopause patients.  After the two-year curriculum, a whopping 85.7% reported feeling “comfortable/very comfortable” taking care of menopause patients.

“This is a huge challenge in the medical profession,” says Dr. Wulf Utian, executive director of NAMS.  “There is a tremendous void in healthcare providers understanding the key issues being faced by pre- and post-menopausal women.  As a result, many women are not getting the treatment they need and are suffering needlessly with an array of menopause-related symptoms.

Although this was a small study sample, it provides valuable insight as to the need to provide additional menopause-focused education, and I hope that medical schools, as well as residency programs in OB/GYN, internal medicine and family practice use it as a justification to augment their current curriculums.”

The article, “Effectiveness of a 2-year menopause medicine curriculum for obstetrics and gynecology residents,” will be published in the March 2016 print edition of Menopause.

Me again: I recently wrote an article for Empowher on advocating for your own Health in Menopause.  I came on strongly in the article and included some TMI because I think the topic is so important. Read the full article here. 

caring medical doctor greeting senior patient


Your Skeleton: Saving Them Bones!



Until I listened to Jane Hirshfield’s poem, “My Skeleton,” I’d never thought about my own skeleton.

Sure, I’d pondered individual bones. Wondered what they might look like under my skin Worried about breaking one.

But I’d never thought about my entire skeleton. Me, just bones, looking a bit like the skeleton I hang on our kitchen door at Halloween.

Hey! Maybe that’s how I can achieve immortality! Me, grinning from the wall of a fine university someday. Proud to be a skeleton. Not a hint of cellulite or padding on my pelvis.

What about you? Any interest in the skeleton life?

Listen to Jane’s poem, an ode to her own skeleton. Love it!


But what about our skeletons now?

How do we preserve our bones while they’re instrumental to our every movement? While we’re kicking and breathing?

I turned to menopause expert Ellen Dolgen. She sent me the link to her article “The Big O’ Ain’t What It Used to Be–Osteoporosis 101.  Ellen writes about bone density testing, the pros and cons of medication for osteoporosis, and non-medical methods for improving bone health, including good old walking. Thanks, Ellen!

Photo: The skeleton in the photo graces our door at Halloween. She was pleased to post a few weeks ago for Friend for the Ride. I like this photo because it shows a skeleton of sorts in my life, our old stove, and reflects back into the green of our yard.

Menpause Mondays: To sign up for Ellen’s newsletter on all things menopause, click here.

Jane Hirshfield: To lean more about poet Jane Hirshfield, visit the site of the Poetry Foundation.