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woman-on-scaleMenopause NOW is a monthly roundup of menopause resources, headlines, and stories. By scouring the internet and leveraging our connections with women’s health experts, we’ll offer links and give you access to the information that’s more important to you.

In our National Menopause Awareness Month edition of Menopause NOW, we take a closer look at the choices we make regarding our health, our treatment options and even our families.

Can Menopause Weight Gain Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

As we transition through menopause, we may notice a few extra pounds settling around our mid-sections. It happens. However, you should be aware that the extra weight can lead to other health problems, including heart disease. And according to Anita Miles Curpier in a recent Courier-Journal article, it can even increase your chances of breast cancer.

Opening Near You: The Menopause Cafe

If you get the humor behind Stephanie D. Lewis’ new blog post on Huff Post 50, you’ve probably experienced a few hot flashes of your own. Sure, you won’t find Heatballs and Menopasta on a real menu, but they might be the stars of your own kitchen.

NAMS Releases New Healthcare Recommendations

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has published recommendations for the comprehensive care of midlife women, addressing everything from hot flashes and HRT to heart disease. It’s probably hard to imagine, but this is the FIRST guidebook of its kind. Let’s hope it gets into the hands of all medical professionals who are encountering frustrated menopausal patients.

To Sweat or Not to Sweat

We’ve had many heated conversations in the Menopause ChitChat forum about whether or not women should take prescription meds for their menopause symptoms. It’s clearly a personal decision and our levels of tolerance are all different. So how do you know what you should do? Roz Warren has decided to sweat it out and shares her reason at Better After 50.

Making the Road Just a Little Easier to Travel

In talking to hundreds of women about menopause, the question that comes up the most is how long does “this” last? Well, ladies, let’s say at least a year, but it could be three or five. However long your journey, Dr. Carrie Jones suggests you talk with your health care provider about hormones, testing and treatment options.

How Does Menopause Effect Childless Women?

There are many, and sometimes difficult, decisions we make over the course of our lifetime. Some we can own because we’ve made a conscious choice. Others, such as whether or not to have children, are sometimes made for us. And menopause can trigger an even more emotional set of challenges. Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, is on a mission to support, inspire, and empower women who are childless by circumstance.

Want to share your thoughts on these or other stories? Join the conversation at the menopause forum. Or, if you know of a newsworthy resource that might bring value to our members and readers, feel free to send us an email.

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Marilu HennerWe recently had an opportunity to chat with Marilu Henner.  While you probably recognize Marilu as Elaine Nardo from the classic TV sitcom Taxi, she’s also an author, health guru, talk show host, producer, entrepreneur, director, dancer, singer, comedienne, and model. Her most important role, though, is as a wife and mom. With the energy of a teenager, the wisdom of a sage, and the memory of a super hero, Marilu Henner is today’s best example of a woman who does it all. And as a spokesperson for Always Discreet, Marilu’s newest mission is getting women to open up about a very taboo topic.

As if you weren’t already busy enough juggling your responsibilities as a radio show host, author and mother, you’ve decided to partner with Always Discreet. Why does helping women with sensitive bladders matter so much to you?

When it comes to sensitive bladders or any taboo aging topic, women need to know that they’re not alone. Women need to know that the things that happen to our bodies as we age are happening to all of us! When I heard that 33 percent of women have a sensitive bladder and that it keeps many of them from doing what they love, like dancing, traveling, or even having sex, I wanted to get this topic out in the open. Women shouldn’t feel self-conscious, isolated or alone. They should be open about it with their doctors, family and friends, and not let it hold them back. With the right protection and support from their physician, friends, family and now, new Always Discreet liners, pads and underwear, managing leaks can absolutely be no big deal.

Marilu, you’ve admitted that you’re a “girl who’s not afraid to talk about anything.” Can you share any personal stories or experiences with bladder leaks?

That’s right – I am a girl who’s not afraid to talk about anything. I even had my baby on national television! And while I don’t personally experience bladder leaks, I know a lot of women who do. When Always Discreet came to me with this opportunity, I thought to myself, what an important topic to put a voice behind. Women aren’t talking about it, but they should be, particularly with their doctors. On average, it takes six and half years to diagnosis an underlying issue causing bladder leaks, and that’s mainly because too many people are embarrassed to talk about their symptoms, even with their doctors. That needs to change.

It’s hard to imagine that over 40 million American women experience bladder leaks. But as much as women love to talk, most of us are still uncomfortable having conversations about sensitive topics, like our bladders. Or menopause. How can we change that?

It’s true – so many women are afraid to start the conversation. But what I’ve learned is that like any other taboo topic, once someone starts the conversation, everyone else starts to join in and share. That’s what I hope to do – open up the floor and get women talking. Women need to remember that over 40 million American women live with this too! They need to talk to their doctors and their loved ones, who are there to help them. Women often forget that their partners, and loved ones who are closest to them, want to know what’s affecting them. They’ll sense you’re holding something back. Often times, the fear of talking about something is far worse than the actual conversation.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is obviously important to you. You experimented with different plans before losing over 50 pounds and launching your Total Health Makeover program. Where did you find the inspiration to transform your life so dramatically?

I lost my parents at a very early age. When I was 17, my father died of a heart attack. He was only 52. I had been a teenage yo-yo dieter, but after he died I “ate my feelings” and gained a lot of weight. A few years later, my mother developed severe Rheumatoid Arthritis from the stress of losing my dad. She was teaching dancing in December, went to bed with the flu in January, went into the hospital in February, had her leg amputated in April, and she died in May. While she was in the hospital, I watched her body try to make sense of everything they were doing to her. I made a vow that if she got out of there alive I would learn everything about the human body and save her life. If she passed away I would still learn everything and save my brothers and sisters and me. When she died, I read everything I could get my hands on. I interviewed doctors, nutritionists; I went to medical libraries and health food stores, and I even took human anatomy classes at UCLA.

It took me eight years to put the information together, and I’ve lived this way for over 35 years now, losing 54 pounds and lowering my cholesterol over 100 points. That’s why I could change my life so dramatically and never look back. I had to do whatever I could to make sense of my parents’ deaths.

Many of the women in our forum share some common symptoms as they transition through menopause, including weight gain and lack of energy. You’ve made it clear that food, exercise, and sleep are three key parts of any health program. But making those changes can be a little overwhelming. Where do you start?

First of all, you have to remember it’s about progress not perfection. We are all at different stages of our health journey, so it doesn’t do any good to compare yourself to anyone else. YOU are in the laboratory of your life and every day is an experiment. Some experiments work and some don’t. That’s why I believe that there’s no such thing as cheating; you are merely collecting data. Pick one healthy habit (drinking more water, breaking a sweat each day for ten minutes, getting rid of a health robber like diet soda, processed food, sugar, etc.), and try it for a week or two to see how you feel. You can then continue to add another one each week until you look and feel the way you’ve always wanted to. As I’m always saying, “You’re never too old or too young to feel better than you do right now!”

We find that all women can experience menopause differently. In an interview, you once said that you flew through menopause without many of the typical symptoms. What advice would you give to women who might not be so lucky?

When it comes to my menopause experience, I was very lucky – I didn’t experience the typical symptoms that I know many of my friends definitely struggled with.

I think that the message that Always Discreet and Menopause ChitChat have in common is actually the most important thing to keep in mind – speak to other women who are experiencing what you’re going through. Talking about your issues, receiving sound advice and knowing you are not alone is a huge part of managing and coping with menopause.

When it comes to sensitive bladder topics specifically, I think the forum on AlwaysDiscreet.com is a great place to talk about your experiences and issues with other women, and it’s anonymous for your privacy. And when it comes to other menopause topics, forums such as Menopause ChitChat serve as a great place for discussion. It is important to know you are not alone and that we’re all in this together.

Visit Marilu at her website, where she shares her empowering information and teaches online classes on maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

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10 Things I Learned at My First Dirty Girl Mud Run

September 14, 2014

Last year, I wrote a blog post about the Dirty Girl 5K Mud Run. At the time, and not having actually run the event, I was just hoping to inspire our readers to stay active and have a little fun. Little did I know that my next step would be signing up and spending an […]

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August Menopause NOW: Resources and Headlines You Don’t Want to Miss

August 31, 2014

Menopause NOW is a monthly roundup of menopause resources, headlines, and stories. By scouring the internet and leveraging our connections with women’s health experts, we’ll offer links and give you access to the information that’s more important to you. In our August edition, we explore just how menopause can impact our attitude, our health, and […]

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It’s Time to Talk About Sex After Menopause: An Interview with Missy Lavender

August 22, 2014

We recently had an opportunity to chat with Missy Lavender, founder of the Chicago-based nonprofit, Women’s Health Foundation (WHF) and pioneer in championing pelvic health and wellness for women of all ages. Missy founded WHF in 2004 and is its strongest advocate. Prior to that, she was an executive in the fields of investment management, […]

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July Menopause NOW: Resources and Headlines You Don’t Want to Miss

July 31, 2014

Menopause NOW is a monthly roundup of menopause resources, headlines, and stories. By scouring the internet and leveraging our connections with women’s health experts, we’ll offer links and give you access to the information that’s more important to you. This month, we share stories from a few bloggers, and a Go-Go, about how they’re handling […]

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