What if this were your daughter?

Today I want us to imagine a young girl, with natural insecurities about her changing body. Imagine her response as people start to see her differently. She's no longer cute, instead she smells funny. She has emotions she doesn't understand and feels alone a lot of the time. No one understands her and she is scared. Daddy stops hugging her the same way and Mommy starts warning her of dangers she can't even imagine. She'd rather be playing in the sandbox than learning how to hide her shame.

But the shame is overwhelming.

She has started her period and she has no idea what to do. Her mother is terrified for her safety after this sign of womanhood arrives, knowing men in her community will see it as a sign of maturity and permission to use her young body. Her father grieves the loss of his little girl and she can't figure out what she did wrong. Her sister is busy with boys and her brother doesn't want to play with her anymore.

Sadly, this is reality for many, many young girls in the developing world. And this reality is the impetus behind the creation of Days For Girls. https://www.daysforgirls.org/

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Menopause: Part 6 Coping with hot flashes without hormones, new information!

Hello and I hope you have a happy Monday! Last week I promised new information about coping with hot flashes and night sweats, and I am so excited to share this information with you all! The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) recently reviewed Nonhormonal management alternative treatment options providing such valuable insight. 

As mentioned in the first 5 parts of the Menopause Series, unfortunately many women still have a bitter taste in their mouths and fear continues to limit the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after publication of the Women’s Health Initiative in 2001. My hope is through education and dialogue between doctors and patients we can find the best treatment options.

With an estimated 6000 women reaching menopause EVERY DAY in the U.S....

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Menopause Series: Part 5 Are there non-hormone options for menopause?

Hormone replacement to treat the hormone-deficient symptoms of menopause while under the supervision of a healthcare provider is very safe and effective.  But there may be reasons that one chooses not to use hormones and approach menopause treatment in other ways.

The most important and safest non-hormone approach involves lifestyle modification.  We know that regular exercise, weight management, smoking cessation and avoidance of known triggers such as hot drinks and alcohol can be safely recommended to manage menopausal symptoms.  

Using menopausal symptoms as an impetus to discuss the optimization of healthy eating and exercise habits goes a long way with women interested in avoiding medication.  

Beyond lifestyle, there are several available options to treat menopausal concerns, however, large, high-quality, long-term data on these preparations is lacking.  

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Menopause Series: Part 4 Why trust your doctor

In recent years, I have started to explore complementary alternative medicine (CAM) that includes a more pro-active, preventative approach to treating women as a whole. 

In the medical profession, it behooves us to be aware of and have access to accurate, up-to-date, medical evidence because the scientific, rigorous studies that compare treatment options to one another, to no treatment at all or to a placebo (inactive medicine) are necessary for us to know if a treatment works, does not work; is safe or is not safe.  

Through my exploration of CAM principles, I am convinced of the benefit of regular exercise, yoga, meditation and healthy nutrition.  I continue to anxiously await information about which other CAM remedies will, also, pass through this wall of scientific rigor so that I can offer them to my patients in clear conscience.  Until then, we should tread cautiously but with curiosity about the financial and health effects of available therapies for all that ails us.  

As new information is learned about treatment options patients and doctors need to continue an open dialogue.

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