Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Nurses Know.... Menopause

This book is an indispensable guide for anyone experiencing Menopause symptoms, or for anyone seeking to understand the changes in women's bodies as they age. Karen Roush provides an overview of the process of Menopause, and comprehensive chapters on all the major concerns including hot flashes, insomnia and hormone replacement therapy. I appreciate the straight forward explanations of often conflicting data regarding HRT studies, and why the medical community continues to vacillate on their recommendation.

I enjoyed the personal quotes from women experiencing every facet of menopause, I enjoyed the history behind treatment philosophies and drug manufacturing, and appreciated the extensive bibliography, which I used to search for additional information on studies relevant to my situation.

Thanks to the author's clear, concise explanations, I now know what is happening and why, know what conversations I need to have with my physician, and most importantly, better understand the risk versus reward of potential treatment options. I only wish this book had been available years ago when I began this complicated and often confusing journey. I've been prescribed too many medications in the past for all the wrong reasons, and none have made this passage easier, and many have done more harm than good. I wish I had been a better informed consumer in the early years, and had been a more effective advocate for myself. I have discovered over the years, through my interactions with more than a half-dozen physicians, that they often don't recognize the symptoms of peri-menopause, make women feel weak for asking for help or wrongly blame stress for the pain, rather than blaming the pain for stress, they often prescribe medications that pharmaceutical companies want them to sell rather than the best medication for the patient, and are often ill informed about the side effects and withdrawal concerns for these new meds. I'm lucky I question authority, am adverse to blithely taking the medication du jour, and have relentlessly researched and sought answers and support during my rocky transition through Menopause. I was ill prepared, but this book has allowed me to finally feel more empowered about my decisions and my health care.

What Nurses Know... gets my highest recommendation, and I recommend reading it before Menopause makes you think you might be crazy.