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Book Review by Annette Gerhardt, JD

In Preventing Menopause, the author Beth Rosenshien puts
forth the startling idea that it is actually possible for women to
prevent going through menopause at all with proper hormone
management. She points out that at one time we did not worry
about our teeth lasting much past the age of 30, because neither
did we. Ours is a 200,000 year old species whose life span at the
outset was 20 years. It took us almost 200,000 years to double
that to 40 at the beginning of the 20th century. But by the end of
the 20th century, we had doubled it again, to over 80.  

Now that we live more than twice as long as the likely period of
time our teeth will last, we start teaching our children to take care
of their teeth at a young age so that with good care, they will last
for our now longer life spans. Ms Rosenshein points out we do the
same thing with our other organs, take steps to conserve them so
that they last a long time. She argues that women should do the
same with their ovaries.

Every woman is born with millions of eggs. But as we go through
menopause, and our ovaries begin to shut down, the resulting
hormone imbalances cause our bodies to call up more and more
eggs to mature for each cycle, until we run out of eggs,
prematurely, in the sense that if the hormones stayed in balance
we would have plenty of eggs to last us for the rest of our lives.
When we go through menopause and our ovaries shut down, in
effect castrating us, these are the things that happen:

    Breast – 30 fold increase in breast cancer, reduction in fat
    in breasts, which causes them to shrink and sag, loss of
    sensitivity and erection in nipples

    Blood vessels, heart – Accelerated stiffness of the arteries,
    increase in blood pressure, significant increased risk of
    heart disease, heart palpitations, hot flashes

    Mouth, Teeth - Dry mouth, increase in periodontal disease,
    increased risk of tooth loss from osteoporosis, abnormal
    taste sensation, menopausal gingivostomatitis, shrinking
    gums, increase in dental caries (cavities)

    Skin – Accelerated degenerative changes, loss of elasticity,
    increase in wrinkles, dry skin, loss of sensitivity to touch,
    tingling in hands and feet

    Brain – Foggy thinking, memory problems

    Uterus – 15 fold increase in uterine cancer after ovarian

    Vagina, clitoris – Lost elasticity and shrinkage (which can
    make intercourse very painful), increased risk of tear in
    vaginal lining, significant loss of clitoral sensitivity,
    significantly decreased sexual response (arousal and
    orgasm), anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm)

    Esophagus – Increase in heartburn

    Gastrointestinal Tract – Increased gas, bloating, flatulence
    in 2/3 of women

    Liver – Increase in cholesterol and other lipids

    Bone – Bone loss for every woman, to varying degrees,
    osteoporosis is also a risk factor for gum disease, increased
    joint pain/ache

    Eyes, Ears – Increased prevalence in dry eye, ringing the
    ears (tinnitus), dizziness

    Bladder, urethra – Shrinking bladder and urethra, increased
    urine leakage, more frequent urination

    Metabolism, fat distribution – Weight gain, slower
    metabolism, hypothyroidism, redistribution of fat to
    abdomen, decreasing insulin sensitivity

    Muscle – Decreased muscle tone and strength

    Sleep – Insomnia in 50% of women over 50, increased
    prevalence of sleep disorder breathing (sleep apnea),
    increase in snoring

    Hair, nails – Head hear loss, thinning of pubic hair,
    increased facial hair, brittle fingernails.

    Nervous system – Anxiety, mood swings, depression

Most women will develop most of the problems on the list above
due to menopause. The idea that all of the above is preventable
by preventing menopause entirely is very attractive. Bioidentical
Hormone Replacement Therapy, although effective, pales in
attraction by comparison to the notion of simply preventing
menopause and all of the accompanying ills altogether! This is a
book that I only wish I had read before I went through menopause.

Ms. Rosenshein states very strongly:

“Preventing menopause means preventing ovarian failure...The
ovaries are underappreciated organs. They contribute a great
deal to a woman’s overall sense of well-being, and thus treatment
should be offered to help ovaries function for as long as possible.
Menopause is as harsh as castration because it’s the same as
castration. We must do what we can to make the present
generation the last to suffer ovarian failure, and make menopause

Ms. Rosenshein then goes on to present compelling evidence that
the above list of misery can be entirely prevented by preventing
menopause. But she then fails to present what I consider a viable
strategy for implementation of her ideas. She urges women to find
the right health care provider, that is committed to their goal for
preventing menopause, and understands the interaction of the
various ovarian hormones. Finding such a doctor, in my opinion, is
going to be difficult to impossible. What’s more, one of the
substances she says is critical to preventing menopause, Inhibin,
is not even available, leaving only testosterone as even a
possibility for use in conserving eggs and preventing menopause.
She urges that teaching hospitals create an appropriate ciriculum
for “Ovarian Specialist,” a physician that specializes in conserving
ovaries. This is not going to happen any time soon.

However, this book is at least a start to get women thinking that
they do not have to inevitably go through menopause. She sets
out charts of blood levels of various hormones that would enable a
woman willing and able to obtain those tests to determine the rate
at which their ovaries are being depleted and take steps to slow
that process down. It is going to be largely a do it yourself project,
though, in this reviewer’s opinion. Women have to be willing to
take control of their own health and forge their own paths for
optimizing their health, and this book at least lays out the concept
and some of the path for women wishing to prevent menopause to
follow in taking control of their own health and well being.

More information can be found at Diamond Research Foundation,
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Preventing Menopause:
How to Stop Menopause Before It Starts

by Beth Rosenshein

Author Beth Rosenshein is an
electrical/bio-medical engineer
and is very familiar with medical
research. She holds two United
States patents, one for a unique
design of a vaginal speculum,
and one for a clever urinary
collection device specifically
designed for women.

Beth discovered and
documented an important drug
interaction between
esomeprazole (Nexium®) and
testosterone. Her findings were
published in a case study in
The American Journal of the
Medical Sciences in May 2004.

She petitioned the FDA in
August 2003 to change the
labeling on hormone products.
The petition was granted in
September 2004. Beth is also a
wife and mother and lives in
Boulder, Colorado.