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Keys to coping with change of life: nutrition, exercise, not smoking

DEAR DR. GOTT: I’m 48 years old and just had what appeared to be a hot flash. Does this mean I’m going through menopause? My menstrual cycle has been sort of regular, but I’m not sure that I’m ready for this next phase in my life.

DEAR READER: Menopause occurs only after a woman stops menstruating completely for 12 months. My guess is you have perimenopause, a stage that precedes menopause. This occurs because your body is not producing hormones as it did before. It generally consists of irregular cycles. They may be more frequent, shorter in length, lighter, or you may skip a month or two only to return to a normal monthly pattern. You may experience hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes or periods of poor concentration. Your hair may thin, and you may experience insomnia. Things won’t be as bad as they sound. Speak with your physician or gynecologist if you have specific questions.

The key is to take care of your body, eat well, exercise often, don’t smoke, and take life a day at a time.

To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Menopause.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order made payable to Newsletter and mailed to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44091-0167. Be sure to mention the title or print an order form off my website at