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7/23/2008

Endometriosis Patients: "The Perfect Menopause": Book By Dr. Henry M. Hess, M.D., Ph.D.

While I don't normally plug I book until after I've read it, I'm making an exception is this case for a highly recommended book!!

I'm writing to tell you about an exciting book I just discovered. I've only read part of it but it's VERY interesting and it was written by Dr. Henry M. Hess, M.D., Ph.D.

Some of my local endometriosis support group members have gone through surgical menopause... in other words menopause brought on by a hysterectomy. Others have gone through natural menopause. Still others are entering the perimenopause years. I think it's important to pay some attention to the topic of menopause (and perimenopause).

Many women I know personally were led to believe by their doctors that a hysterectomy would "cure" their endo... only to have serious health problems post-hysterectomy that are endometriosis related. THERE IS NO CURE FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS!

Dr. Henry M. Hess is a gynecologist, chemist, natural therapist & menopause expert. Dr. Hess has practiced in all areas of obstetrics and gynecology for over 25 years with a special interest in menopause and perimenopause. He believes in the integrative approach - a blend of traditional and natural medicine, and this is the focus of his book:

The Perfect Menopause: 7 Steps to the Best Time of Your Life by Dr. Henry M. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., (with Tiffany Farrell).

You may have seen the numerous stories in the news about estrogen replacement therapy or hormone replacement therapy and changes in how the medical community views the benefits vs. risks of certain medications. Due to recent controversy (sometimes quite heated) over treatment for the symptoms of menopause, I'm going to include the disclaimer straight from the book, The Perfect Menopause, here:

This book is meant to educate all women on the latest options for management of their menopause. However, it should not be used as an alternative to appropriate medical care. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions in the context of your specific medical situation with the help of your qualified medical provider.

In light of ongoing research and the constant flow of information, newer medical discoveries may invalidate some of the data presented here, and could even alter the considerations discussed in this book. We hope to continue to present updated versions of this book, recognizing that "the answers will continue to change".

In view of the possibility of human error and changes in medical sciences, neither the authors, nor any individual involved in the preparation of this work for publication, nor the University of Rochester, nor any individuals or other institutions mentioned in this book warrant that the information is in every respect accurate or complete. Neither the authors, nor the University of Rochester, nor any other party or institutions mentioned in this book are responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of the information in this book. We strongly advise that the information in this book be used in collaboration with your qualified medical provider.

The book points out, "The fact that it is only within the last century or so that life expectancies increased enough for menopause to become a regular experience for women indicates that the field of menopause is a relatively new area of medical research. Before the 1900s, the average life expectancy for women was 47".

If you are in need of information on menopause or perimenopause, this book was reviewed by Tara Allmen, M.D. (Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, Center for Menopause, http://center-for-menopause.com/) as follows, "Finally, women have a scientifically accurate and up-to-date resource on menopause!"

Here is the website associated with this book:

http://www.theperfectmenopause.com

With all of the confusion about treatments for menopause in the media these days and the fact that some of the women in my local endometriosis support group struggle with how to handle such symptoms, I thought it would be a good idea to devote a post to this book on menopause. Hopefully some of you reading this blog will find it helpful!

This article was posted by Jeanne via "Jeanne's Endo Blog" at www.endendoat.blogspot.com.

12 comments:

Yaya said...

I'm glad you are so enthusiastic about this book! I know the feeling when I find such a book and it is exilerating! I went to the website and saw your comment in the guest book, it is very nice.
(PS, how can I slip this book to my mother-in-law? I'm sure a lot of her recent attitude is a result of her going through menopause....)

Jeanne said...

Alicia,

Yes, I'm really excited to discover this book! There has been such conflicting information in the media and I'm looking forward to reading more of this book! I looked it up today on www.amazon.com and it got 5 out of 5 stars from the people who reviewed it!

Hmmm. Now that is a tricky one. I suspect perhaps she might receive it better if it were not given to her by her daugher-in-law --- but I could be wrong. Is there an alternate way you could get it into her hands? She might be more receptive.

Jeanne

Jacqueline said...

Sounds like a good book! I've been a devotee of Christiane Northrup and the www.womentowomen.com site (great stuff for holistic/natural minded women), but am looking to expand my bookcase a bit right now. Thanks for the rec and I've also enjoyed reading your blog. Finally, someone bringing endo women together!

Jeanne said...

Welcome Jacqueline!!

I just posted a comment on your site:

http://viewsonwomenshealth.blogspot.com/2008/07/anti-estrogenic-diet.html

Thank you for stopping by here! I'm glad you found us!

I'll have to check out the site you mentioned. I just took a peek for a few short seconds so far but that's it:

http://www.womentowomen.com/

I've certainly heard of Dr. Northrup's work.

Looking for "holistic/natural minded women"? You have come to the right place!

Feel free to browse through the archives & you'll find articles on acupuncture, Chi Nei Tsang, aromatherapy, physical therapy for pelvic pain, and so much more.

I hope Dr. Hess' book becomes a welcome addition to your bookcase.

I've been so busy blogging, moderating comments and replying to them, and just maintaining my blog (tools and all that stuff)...

So much goes on behind the scenes with a blog, as I'm sure you know since you have your own blog) that I haven't gotten very far in the book just yet but it's at the top of my to-do list.

Dr. Hess' book did get 5 out of 5 starts on www.amazon.com, though!

Anyway, I'm very happy to hear that you've enjoyed reading my blog and I hope you'll join us again soon!!

I'm very pleased with the progress we've made in a short period of time.

By last count, we've had visitors to this blog from approximately 22 countries (the map is dynamic so that's the most accurate count I was able to get).

I am stunned & thrilled at the response we've gotten.

Granted, I have gone out of my way to promote diversity and to attract visitors from outside the U.S. --- but I never anticipated so much response from so far away and so quickly.

It's really heartwarming!

Thank you for your kind words. After 26 years with endo myself & 7 years faciltating a local endo support group, I'm excited to take things worldwide and try to connect as many women as we can.

If my little blog can facilitate conversations between endo patients who would not have met otherwise then that just makes my day!

I hope you'll come back again soon to visit! :)

Jeanne

Mckay K said...

I am very interested in this book. As I have been on hormone replacement compound for 15 years. Two of my sister have had cancer and are both concerned with my choice of hormone replacement. So, a week ago I stopped taking the medication. However, I did not replace it with anything. I don't know if this is a withdrawal symptom, but I am feeling sad and lonely. Once before when I stopped taking it, my therapist suggested I resume the medication. She associated my depression with the unbalanced hormone levels in my body. It is perfect that you should suggest this book at this particular time.

Mckay K said...

I am very interested in this book. As I have been on hormone replacement compound for 15 years. Two of my sister have had cancer and are both concerned with my choice of hormone replacement. So, a week ago I stopped taking the medication. However, I did not replace it with anything. I don't know if this is a withdrawal symptom, but I am feeling sad and lonely. Once before when I stopped taking it, my therapist suggested I resume the medication. She associated my depression with the unbalanced hormone levels in my body. It is perfect that you should suggest this book at this particular time.

Jeanne said...

Mckay k,

This book comes highly recommended!

I have only skimmed through it and I'm no doctor but I'm not sure stopping HRT cold turkey is advisable. (You'd have to talk with your doctor).

As far as cancer risks are concerned, obviously you need to discuss that with your doc but I believe the book gets into some of that too, from what I understand (see previous disclaimer from book).

Certainly hormone levels and mood can be tied together but, again, I'm no doctor so you'd need to discuss this with your medical providers (which is sounds like you've already started doing).

I really think this book is up your alley from what you're describing!

While I haven't read the whole book yet because there are just not enough hours in the day (!!)... I have heard about it & skimmed through it and I really think you'd find it helpful. Keep me posted on whether you do read this book and what you think!

Also, if they ever invent a 30 hour day where more things can get packed in, let me know because lately I feel like I could really use it! Ha ha. :)

Well, I'm off to get my echo/stress test so wish me luck! I've got to run!

Thanks for the great feedback, as always.

Hang in there!!!!

Jeanne

Jeanne said...

Readers,

Mckay's comment got duplicated somehow. Blogger.com is doing some maintenance.

Please refer above for my response (already posted earlier) to Mckay's last post.

Jeanne

Shauna said...

Jeanne my sister, "-)

Unreal I see this today!! I am in Menopause, my mom had breast CA, so no doc will give me any HRT. I don't want it anyway. How did any holistic therapy work for you hun? I know your acupuncture has helped you in other ways, do you use it for Menopausal SX? I need help kiddo, the mood swings and feeling like I'm going to have a period are still there....SURE DON'T MISS EM THOUGH!! "-)

Another very informative post honey. Keep it up girl!!! YOU ROCK!! Information is power!!

Shauna ;-)

Shauna said...

Jeanne,

I am sitting here with my BF in the world. She suffers from Endo also, for 30 yrs. Her tales of what she has been through are crazy, sad, and she was undiagnosed until 19 yrs. old, although the SX began @ 15 when her menses began.

She just posed an excellent question. Does haveing Endo affect going though Menopause??? I had never thought of that connection.

Jeanne, if you know yourself through personal experience, or know of the subject matter, could you post an answer?? She is leaving tomorrow and we'd love even links to that subject.

Thanks my friend,

Shauna :-)

Jeanne said...

Welcome Shauna!

While you & I have communicated offline, I believe this is your first comment posted on my blog. It's nice to hear from you!! :)

For those of you who are interested in checking out Shauna's blog, it's listed with my favorites at the bottom of my homepage.

Anyway, "sister"... :) I am not in menopause. So I can't speak to the subject personally unless you count years ago when I was in a "medical menopause" where SEVERE menopausal symptoms were induced by a medication I was using to treat the endometriosis. So I can empathize based on memories of what I went through…

I have heard lots from other women who have gone through menopause, are going through it, or are in perimenopause. One of the unique things about being a local endometriosis support group leader is that I get inundated with information from my group members on all sorts of endometriosis-related subjects! :)

Anyway, I can't speak to acupuncture as a treatment for menopausal symptoms from personal experience but I can say that acupuncture is totally amazing and helps me with so many symptoms of so many illnesses!!! So it certainly wouldn't hurt to locate a licensed acupuncturist near you and simply call him/her up and ask if acupuncture will help your symptoms. (You have other issues I’m certain could benefit from it)!

I'm very fortunate in that my acupuncturist is REALLY good at knowing what acupuncture is effective at & what it's not-so-effective at.

So if you can find an acupuncturist as awesome as mine who "tells it like it is" and isn't afraid to turn away business if acupuncture treatment isn't going to benefit you the patient, GREAT!

All I can say is ACUPUNCTURE IS AWESOME FOR SO MANY THINGS!!!

OK. Let's get back to focusing on menopause specifically. While I may not have read the entire book "The Perfect Menopause”, I can say the book comes highly recommended and may well help you cut through some of the controversy surrounding hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and estrogen replacement therapy (ERT).

Before I proceed and since menopausal treatment options can be so confusing/controversial, I would just like to take a moment to refer readers to my medical disclaimer at the top of my blog’s homepage.

OK. I’ve spoken with many women and I can certainly say that based on those conversations plus what I’ve read and heard elsewhere… your body’s hormone balance can have a profound impact on your moods! I have also talked with many women who still feel symptomatic at the time of the month when they would have had their period even if they are not getting periods anymore. So it’s not just you!!

You didn’t actually spell it out for me and I don’t want to assume. Did you have a hysterectomy?? I’m guessing that you did (??) based on your comments because if you were in a medical menopause there might be discussion of add-back therapy during treatment with the drug inducing the menopausal symptoms… but that’s not the impression I got for what’s happening in your case. I’m assuming you aren’t just on a drug like a GnRH agonist that is suppressing your periods??

I certainly can appreciate that you don’t miss your periods. Unfortunately, too many women get misled into thinking that a hysterectomy will “cure” their endometriosis when in fact there is no cure for endometriosis! SOME women find the relief of not having periods helpful, to be sure. Unfortunately, OTHER women go on to have significant problems after hysterectomy. It’s complicated.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist and I don’t pretend to have the answers to the complicated questions surrounding treating menopausal symptoms. If suggesting a book that may help cut through the confusion can help people like you who are dealing with symptoms, though, I really do my best to pass the info along because it can get pretty confusing on this topic. (I’m itching to get through this book “The Perfect Menopause” even though it’s not affecting me personally because it affects many people I know and, obviously, it will affect me at some point too).

I’m glad you found the post informative. The menopause post is really getting quite a response already. :) I think there has been so much in the news about it and there is lots of confusion and frustration out there. I would urge you to check out the book!

Thank you for the kind words! I appreciate your support. I have enjoyed reading many of your blog posts. You have some really insightful and thought-provoking posts on your blog.

Yes, my dear! *** INFORMATION IS POWER! *** You said a mouthful!!  That pretty much sums it up right there!

Jeanne said...

Shauna,

Yes, the tales that a typical endometriosis patient can spin are… well, head-spinning!

Having had endo for 26 years myself now, I can empathize with your best friend! Please encourage her to visit my endo blog herself sometime!! :)

There’s a great deal of info in my archives if she’s up for some endo reading…

Believe it or not the diagnosis she had (4 years after onset of symptoms) is faster-than-average. Sadly, the average endometriosis diagnosis occurs 9.9 years after the onset of symptoms!! So she was diagnosed earlier than most.

Hmmm. That, my dear, is a loaded question! I have some personal opinions on the matter based on anecdotal stuff from support group members who have become close friends.

Can I personally give you the kind of answer an MD would (with scientific evidence to support it)? No.

Do I have a gut feeling on whether endo patients may have different experiences with menopause than their "non-endometriosis patient" peers? Sort of.

It’s hard for me to sift out because the population that frequents my support group is skewed.

By that I mean that most women who take the time & effort to hunt down a support group are either infertile, really sick, really suffering physically, facing questions about surgery (i.e. laparoscopy, hysterectomy), etc. (or all of the above)… Usually some sort of “crisis” prompts women to find the support they need. So the women who seek out a support group in the first place have a tendency to be some of the more extreme end of the spectrum as far as symptoms.

So you may be wondering, “well what does that have to do with my question?” Let me answer that by saying that MANY women in my group have serious problems with allergies and sensitivities. Some, like me, have MCSS (multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome) and have wacky reactions to all sorts of medications, among other things. (Again, I’m not in menopause so I’m speaking in general terms here). Let’s just say that I’ve heard of some women who have had allergic reactions to hormonal treatments.

(Here’s another plug for my medical disclaimer at the top of my blog’s homepage).

Anyway, I’m treading on thin ice here because I have zero clue of how common such allergies are… and even if they are considered super-rare, endometriosis patients IN MY NON-MEDICAL OPINION have a tendency to be more likely to get rare side effects from medications in general (I’m not just talking about hormones here. I’m talking about all medications). Women with endometriosis, in my experience, are a sensitive bunch who have a higher-than-average likelihood of falling into the small category of patients who get the “rare side effects” possible with just about any medication.

How does this translate to your question about whether having endo “affects going through menopause”? Well, first… I would urge your friend to discuss this with her medical provider(s). The book “The Perfect Menopause” may well provide her with a resource to go into her medical appointments armed with solid information to discuss with her doctor. I have to wonder, though, what precisely you mean by, “does having endo affect going through menopause?” In other words, are you asking if it makes menopause more challenging? Are you asking if endometriosis affects when menopause is likely to start? These are questions I cannot answer as a layperson.

All I know is that many endometriosis patients I’ve encountered (this is in general, again… I’m not specifically talking about menopause here) tend to have more allergic reactions to prescriptions, more skin problems, more immune system problems, etc.

According to the Endometriosis Association’s main (yellow) brochure, “many with endo also experience a range of immune disorders, including allergies, asthma, eczema, and certain autoimmune diseases”.

Also, my acupuncturist once told me that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, endometriosis is actually viewed as six separate illnesses!

Needless to say, endometriosis is a complex and puzzling illness and there aren’t always easy answers to our questions. I daresay if you asked 5 doctors the question you asked me you’d probably get various answers. I could be wrong about that but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Rather than hunt for links on the Internet for such a loaded question as that, I would almost have to say she really should talk with her doctor and that if she’s not satisfied with the response she can always get a second opinion. (It never hurts to get a second opinion)!! I wish I could answer your question or give you links but, frankly, I don’t think it’s that simple. I don’t even know if the medical community as a whole has an answer to that question yet. I don’t know if any research has been done on it even!

Speaking of research, if you didn’t see my July 15TH post I should mention it to you! I’m sure your friend would be interested in knowing about it too! A medical research organization called CureTogether just launched on 7/15/08. Their website is: www.curetogether.com. Anyway, CureTogether has picked three illnesses on which to initially focus their research energy: migraines, endometriosis, and vulvodynia. Please see my July 15Th post on this blog and the CureTogether website listed above for more information about this exciting news!

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer your question the way you had envisioned. Things with endometriosis are rarely simple and often have gray areas. In my experience over many years, it’s common to be told one thing by one doctor only to be told the complete opposite by another doctor.

I want to re-emphasize that “The Perfect Menopause” is supposed to be designed to cut through the confusion about menopause and give a snapshot, so to speak, for what science has figured out so far. That’s the impression I got from the bit I’ve read and from reading several reviews of the book, anyway. The book got 5 out of 5 stars on www.amazon.com. So someone out there likes it… I would refer your friend to a combination of that book and her medical provider(s) to try to best answer her question.

I hope this helps!!

Jeanne :)

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