Dear Dr. Jenni,
I read your column last week on hormones. I am 48 and nearing menopause. I am very worried about this stage in my life. I have many friends that take hormones and other friends who balk at hormones. There seems to be many paths, and I’m not sure which one to take.
—Puzzled with Perimenopause
You are correct in that there are a number of options for navigating menopause. Some women choose a natural path sans hormones. The philosophy basically states that because menopause is a natural part of life, women should aim to live a healthy lifestyle and allow nature to run its course.
It is important to note that not until the 1900s did most women live long enough to experience menopause.
Because we are living longer, many women believe that additional support can help increase their quality of life. Some opt for Eastern or homeopathic alternatives, using supplements and vitamins. Other women want bioidentical or traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help offset menopausal symptoms.
The alternative, homeopathic options are less invasive; however, they do not have the FDA or research base to back them. The hormone replacement
therapies emphasize replacing the natural matter that is missing. While this path has been previously fraught with research controversy, recent evidence-based data demonstrates that HRT is more helpful than harmful. It can decrease menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue and inelasticity of skin and vagina. It also helps prevent diseases that typically accompany old age, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis.
To ensure you are up-to-date on the best methods available according to your personal health, I suggest talking with your gynecologist.
Dear Dr. Jenni,
I am a recently divorced woman in my mid-60s. I am dating again for the first time in over 35 years. I am trying online sites to meet men, but it seems like there are very different rules, and I’m not sure how long I should hold out for sex. I don’t want to appear prudish, but I also want to be a lady.
What are your tips, and is there anything else I should consider as I move forward into the dating world again?
Yes, dating online is a very different world from that which you experienced decades ago. Basically, the best rules to follow are your own. It’s never a bad idea to hold off on sex. It builds the mystery and excitement, creating yearning for when you finally do make it to the bedroom. It also allows you to get to know one another without jumping the gun and getting too vulnerable too quickly. Because it’s easier to have sex than talk about it, my advice is to hold off on having sex until you are both courageous enough to have important conversations about safe sex practices and ensure you both feel ready.
While you may not have to contend with pregnancy, the days of free love are over, and practicing safe sex is essential.
Also keep in mind that dating online comes with its fair share of challenges. You may have to go on a number of dates before you land a man that you want to pursue in further depth. Because of this, get to know someone via email and phone for a little while, but don’t spend too much time before transitioning to ace-to-face. You may find that the electronic version of someone is quite different than who you meet in person. Most of all, enjoy the journey, and listen to your intuition.
Send questions for Jenni Skyler, PhD, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org. Respond: email@example.com