Excerpt from The Change Before The Change by Laura E. Corio, Linda G. Kahn, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Change Before The Change

Everything You Need to Know to Stay Healthy in the Decade before Menopause

by Laura E. Corio, Linda G. Kahn

The Change Before The Change by Laura E. Corio, Linda G. Kahn X
The Change Before The Change by Laura E. Corio, Linda G. Kahn
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2000, 368 pages
    Dec 2001, 448 pages

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

There was a huge snowstorm raging outside, and we'd been receiving cancellation calls all day. So I was surprised to open the door to one of our examining rooms and find Marian perched on the end of the table. Marian started seeing me twelve years ago, when she was single and living in the city. A husband and two children later, she now lived in the suburbs but still remained a loyal patient.

"Why didn't you reschedule?" I asked. "You took your life in your hands driving all the way in from Long Island."

"I couldn't wait another day, Dr. Corio," she replied.

"What's wrong?"

"What isn't? I feel like my whole body is falling apart--in fact, it doesn't even feel like my own body anymore!" Marian went on to list a host of symptoms: migraines, hot flashes, insomnia, dry itchy skin, urinary tract infections, irregular periods, and decreased libido. "Poor Skip," she continued, referring to her sweetheart of a husband. "My moods have been all over the place and I haven't let him touch me in weeks. He's been really understanding, but I know that for both our sakes I can't put off dealing with this any longer."

"Well, Marian--how old are you now?" I glanced down at her chart. "Forty-three? It sounds to me as if you may be in peri-menopause."

"You're kidding!" she responded. "But my mother didn't go through menopause until she was 50."

"And you may not, either. Perimenopause can begin up to a decade before menopause," I reminded her. "When was your last period?"

"About three weeks ago."

"And how was it? Longer or shorter than usual? Heavier or lighter?"

"A little heavier and longer than normal. And I had wicked PMS--my breasts were killing me and I had really bad cramps. I told Skip he should buy some stock in Motrin! It was like being a teenager all over again."

"Funny you should say that," I said, "because in some ways peri-menopause is the mirror image of puberty. One of the reasons you're experiencing irregular periods, mood swings, and PMS is that after twenty years of relative stability, your hormones are beginning to fluctuate all over the place. In your case, it's because your body is winding down its reproductive life; in a teenager's, it's because her body is winding up."

"Lovely," Marian said, rolling her eyes. "But if I'm reliving those happy teenage years, how come I have no sex drive?"

"Because perimenopause is like puberty in reverse. Although your estrogen levels are bouncing around, they're basically on their way down, whereas a teenager's are basically on their way up. Your skin is getting drier; a teenager's gets oilier."

"So is there anything I can do to feel like a human being again, or do I just have to wait this out?"

"Of course there are things you can. do--why should you suffer?" We went on to discuss a myriad of options, from vitamin and mineral supplements to herbs and foods she could try to relieve her various symptoms. "Before you leave today I'd like to write you a prescription for saliva testing to check your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels," I added. "This is the perfect time because you're in the middle of the second half of your cycle. If these levels are no longer in the normal range and your symptoms aren't improving with just the complementary treatments, we can talk about the possibility of adding a low dose of hormones."

"I can't tell you how relieved I am to know I'm not completely falling apart!" Marian sighed as she leaned back on the table so I could begin her physical examination. "It was definitely worth braving the hazards of the Long Island Expressway to see you today."

Checklist of Perimenopausal Symptoms

Every woman experiences perimenopause differently. Some have virtually no symptoms; others have every one in the book. Because the range of symptoms is so diverse, many women don't make the connection with perimenopause and either suffer in silence or run from one specialist to another looking for cures. If you are experiencing any of the following, ask your gynecologist if he or she thinks you may be in perimenopause.

  • irregular periods
  • PMS symptoms--bloating, cramps, breast tenderness
  • hot flashes and night sweats
  • insomnia and fatigue
  • heart palpitations
  • mood swings and irritability
  • migraine headaches
  • memory problems
  • fuzzy thinking or inability to concentrate
  • dry, itchy, irritated skin
  • dry or thinning hair
  • brittle nails
  • weight gain, especially around the middle
  • vaginal dryness or itchiness
  • pain with intercourse
  • loss of interest in sex
  • vaginal infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • frequent urination or stress incontinence
  • joint pain
  • irritable bowel syndrome

  • 1

Excerpted from The Change Before the Change by Laura E. Corio M.D. and Linda G. Kahn Copyright© 2000 by Laura E. Corio M.D. and Linda G. Kahn. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Wolf Season
    by Helen Benedict
    Rin Drummond's nicknames include "Pit Bull" and "Dragon." She's a tough-as-nails Iraq War ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Leonardo da Vinci
    Leonardo da Vinci
    by Walter Isaacson
    The name Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most recognized in all of Western history, and his ...
  • Book Jacket: The Immortalists
    The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin
    On a summer day in 1969 in New York City, the Gold children agree to seek out a mysterious ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A story that is at once quirky, charming, heartbreaking, suspenseful and poignant.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Days When Birds Come Back
    by Deborah Reed

    A graceful testament to endurance, rebuilding, and the possibilities of coming home.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Chalk Man
    by C. J. Tudor

    Relentlessly compelling psychological suspense. The must-read thriller debut of 2018.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Mothers of Sparta

Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir

A dazzling literary memoir with shades of Mary Karr, Anne Lamott and Jenny Lawson.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

A J O A Thousand M B W O S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.