THE SILENT PASSAGE: Menopause by Gall Sheehy
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Vanity Fair when she began to experience menopausal symptoms. The response from readers was immediate, clearly confirming that the article had cracked "the last taboo." To rephrase an old saw, nobody wants to talk about menopause, but everybody wants to do something about it. Laid out eloquently here are the facts, the folklore, and the fears, revealed by interviews with scientists, medical professionals, and dozens of women. Many of the women were frightened by the idea that, as menopause neared, they would begin to "lose it upstairs." But the symptoms that accompany menopause make "losing it" almost appealing. They include: depression, headaches, itchy skin, mood swings, hot flashes, reduced sex drive, fatigue, irritability, osteoporosis, sleep deprivation, memory loss—and more. Not all symptoms afflict all women—some have none—and, most comforting, the symptoms are almost always temporary or easily treatable. Sheehy takes on the medical establishment, calling the lack of data about hormone therapy a "scandal," placing current knowledge about change of life on the level of "leeches and roots and shamans." But she also sees the stages of menopause as the gateway to a new life, in which revived energy and earned wisdom can be harnessed to the community. Many of the interviews are moving, and some are funny; but there is a disproportionate emphasis on the experiences of upper-income women who can afford bone-density analysis and hormone-replacement therapy. It's reported that there are 43 million American women in or past menopause, with another half million to join them each year in the 90's. Sheehy's book will be a bible for them—and hopefully for the doctors who treat them.

Pub Date: May 12th, 1992
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Random House