Last updated: Nov 19, 2008

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By Lambeth Hochwald
From Health magazine

“Whoa, is it hot in here?”


If that sounds like you talking, welcome to the club: There are 37 million American woman (ages 40 to 60) in the perimenopause and/or menopause years. Officially, perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause (one full year without periods), during which you start to notice certain changes in your body and menstrual cycles thanks to a slowdown in your ovaries production of estrogen and progesterone. According to the North American Menopause Society, menopause, interestingly, is really just the one-day anniversary of a full year without periods. And then, hello, suddenly youre postmenopausal!

The average age at menopause is 51, but symptoms—from hot flashes and vaginal dryness to mood swings and memory loss—can start a decade before and last for years after. Thats a lot of time to be dealing with hormonal ups and downs. Thats why we created this Health Guide to help you cope, and perhaps even learn to celebrate this time of life.