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The Wisdom of Menopause Paperback – January 1, 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Menopause doesn't have to be a dreaded curse of aging during which we can look forward only to hot flashes and whacked-out hormonal mood swings. According to Christiane Northrup, M.D. (Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom), menopause often marks the beginning of a woman's most sexually passionate, creatively inspired, and professionally productive phase of life.

While this may sound like wishful thinking, Northrup backs up her good news with solid medical expertise. As an obstetrician and gynecologist, Northrup has specialized in using a mind-body approach to women's health for decades, which means she doesn't just write about hormones, but also examines how a woman's lifestyle, emotions, and beliefs are affected by menopause. With the right diet, attitude, and perhaps some supplements along the way, women can actually look forward to a resurgence of energy and a revolutionary opportunity for personal growth--one that rivals the hormonally driven period of adolescence in its scope and urgency, she claims. And yes, at just under 500 pages, The Wisdom of Menopause does explain how to have a positive and healthy menopause in concise detail. Northrup has indeed "written the book" on menopause.

It helps that Northrup has been through menopause herself (she vowed she wouldn't write a book on it until she was on the other side). Readers have the sense that they are gleaning advice from a knowledgeable holistic doctor as well as a sage aunt whose life was radically altered by the "change of life" (Northrup divorced at the onset of menopause). After she shares her personal story of "the change," Northrup delves into a significant discussion on how self-sacrifice catches up with women in midlife. Suddenly, hormones are directing women out of the caregiver role and into an inwardly focused assessment of life and its meaning, she explains. Resentments (not hormones) are what spur the notorious surges of anger, as women reexamine the agreements surrounding their relationships with colleagues, friends, and family members.

From here, Northrup guides readers into a thorough section on menopausal hormone changes--a discussion that is scientifically informative, yet entirely accessible. While acknowledging the need for hormone-replacement therapy and the tremendous relief it can provide (helping to alleviate insomnia, hot flashes, and depression), Northrup encourages women to avoid synthetic hormones and instead consider "bioidentical" hormones (such as estradiol, estrone, and estriol). She also devotes an entire chapter to foods and supplements that support hormonal balance. By the way, she says to skip the wild Mexican yam creams: "they certainly don't provide the documented benefits of progesterone." Be warned: some readers may find the advice in Wisdom of Menopause too alternative for their liking. For example, in her discussion on insomnia, one of Northrup's recommendations is to cover the mirror at night, following the ancient Asian design principles of feng shui. (Skeptics will find Northrup's medical assertions carefully cited and footnoted in the rear of her book.)

Northrup gives a solid and practical diet plan that supports hormonal balance while countering the weight gain that so frequently plagues menopausal women ("focus on portion size, not calories," "eat protein at every meal," and cut down on refined and high-carbohydrate foods). Readers can also expect a thorough mind-body discussion in subsequent chapters that cover breast health, bone loss, and cultivating midlife beauty, along with chapters titled "Sex and Menopause: Myths and Reality" and "Creating Pelvic Health and Power."

She concludes with a list of mail-order and online resources, such as retailers for bioidentical hormones, progesterone cream, Chinese herbs, soy products, weight-loss audiocassettes, lubricants, and Kegel weights. Northrup takes a truly comprehensive approach to all the effective treatments of menopausal symptoms so that women can make their own highly informed and wise choices. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Northrup (Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom), cofounder of the Women to Women health-care center in Maine, offers a celebratory, "psychospiritual" approach in her comprehensive guide to menopausal health and well-being. Beginning with the premise that, though difficult, the "hormone-driven changes that affect the brain... give a woman a sharper eye for inequity... and a voice that insists on speaking up," Northrup details hormonal imbalances, mood swings, serious illnesses, treatment options and all the other symptoms, side effects and decisions women face in midlife. Middle-aged herself, Northrup writes from experience and, more important, from her professional expertise as a physician who has treated many women and researched menopause. While much of the health-care material here is available in other sources, Northrup's approach a description of symptoms, followed by both traditional and alternative treatment options along with some anecdotes is particularly useful. Occasionally she veers off into New Age jargon, but she is a firm believer in the relevance of tangential influences on physical health, including emotional and financial well-being. The specific medical advice on sleep, diet, breast health and the empowerment motif will bring insight, comfort and confidence to women embarked on "the change." Agent, Ned Leavitt. (Apr. 3) Forecast: Northrup is a bestselling author widely held in the same esteem as Gary Null and Deepak Chopra. Among the competitive field of books on menopause, hers stands out for its whole-woman approach, which will make it attractive not only to her core readership but also as a hand-selling favorite among booksellers.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055338080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553380804
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I do understand why some people have rated this book only one star. The book gets into a lot of areas outside of mainstream medicine. However, I felt most of what she had to say was medically sound. If you are looking for a book that gives only AMA-approved advice, this is NOT the book for you.
I think this book is actually quite valuable. Who would benefit from it most are people who want BOTH AMA-approved advice, AND who want to consider things like herbal remedies, acupuncture, and other natural treatments. These discussions are particularly valuable for anyone who cannot take traditional hormone treatments for various reasons--such as if you have deep vein thrombosis (which I do). She covers alternative therapies very well, in depth, and from the perspective of a physician who has had many years experience in trying these natural therapies with patients, and with herself. So, here you can get a POSITIVE physician's viewpoint on alternative therapies. Yes, it's true she discusses her personal life, and I personally enjoyed those parts. It's also true that she sometimes gets readings from Tarot cards, but if something comes out of them, she always checks into those areas which have come up in the readings with traditional medical tests and treatments. If you're not into "nurturing your fibroid," or tarot cards, just ignore those parts of the book. Ignoring these parts was not a problem for me. The important thing is, this book is NOT trying to convert people to new-age treatments. It is seriously discussing a number of alternative therapies, from a medical standpoint, that MANY people have already been using on their own for many years--but these people can't find any doctor who will seriously discuss the merits and demerits of any of these treatments.
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Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a holistic therapist when I was talking about all the chaos that has decended into my life. She said that "its part of menopause" and refered this book. She was so right. From the moment I started reading it, I started identifying with a lot of the things that she was saying.
In reading many of the other reviews, I feel that most the one star people never got beyond the first few chapters. They never saw the indepth discussions on building bones, the discussions on why you start gaining weight even though you haven't changed your diet or excercise, or the discussion of heart health. They were turned off by her discussions of her personal life and experience...everyone of which mentioned the tarot card references which were such a small part and only mentioned in the beginning! I thought it made her more human. Nor did I feel she was telling us to ditch everyone in our lives. What I picked up and what I really do feel is important is that we need to constantly reevaluate our live, keep what IS working and change (not neccessarily discard)what isn't and unfortunately, most of us don't do that till our lives go haywire. Menopause is a major haywire occurances.
One of the things that drew me to the book and her attitude is that she approaches everything from an 'understand what is happaning, understand your options, decide what is best for you' point of view. In particular, in this 'here take a pill for that' world we live in, her change your lifestyle first and if that doesn't work, then let's look at the medication and surgical answers was very refreshing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is highly readable and packed with information about menopause, and perimenopause. However, if you already own or have read Northrup's "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom", or if you subscribe to her newsletter, or if you've read Dr. John Lee's "What your Doctor may not tell you about Menopause", then you can save your money and skip this book. Most of the information contained in this book can be found in the other sources mentioned. Especially if you want more info natural progresterone -- read Dr Lee's books.

Northrup takes a stronger "new-agey" tone in this book than in her previous one. The Tarot and astrology references, while not repugnant to me, got a little tiring. If this book had been my first encounter with Northrup, I think I might have been turned off to her message.
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Format: Paperback
I had to comment, because our magazine, The Pulse of Oriental Medicine, has received several "heads ups" about some advice Christiane gave... she suggested taking the Chinese patent herb remedy "Yunnan Baiyao" before surgery. I and other Chinese Medical experts believe this is an extremely risky idea.
#1- Yunnan Baiyao stops bleeding... it affects wound-healing. Herbs of this type can have life-threatening interactions with some drugs.
#2- Because of #1, Yunnan Baiyao could alter your response to procedures or drugs, placing your surgeon in an unfamiliar medical landscape, especially if he/she doesn't know you've taken the herbs. Even if they did, not enough is known about how it might interact with the drugs administered before and during surgery.
Don't risk it!
Christian says that the patent "has been used successfully" in this way. There is no reference or source for this. I have no idea what made her think this was a good idea, and she doesn't tell us.
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