Wulf H. Utian, M.D., founder of the  North American Menopause Society, has recently published a small, well-organized manual for women who want information about menopause that is straightforward and easy to understand, with the fitting title, Change Your Menopause.

A decade ago, women worried less about menopause because many studies that were not rigorously designed supported the belief that hormone therapy would safely lower the risk of heart attack and osteoporosis, and would make it easier to manage the symptoms associated with the menopausal transition. That was before the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) created a media firestorm that changed the way that doctors and women looked at their options for symptom management. Women now flock to anti-aging specialists who offer useless saliva and blood tests in order to design a special hormone cocktail for each woman that they promise will keep her sexy and youthful forever and will not cause breast or endometrial cancer, or increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack .

In Change Your Menopause, Dr. Utian gives the reader the most basic and up-to-date information she needs to understand how the female body works before menopause, during the menopausal transition, and in the post-menopausal period. He uses the language of reason, not words that promote fear and anxiety, as he discusses the small number of symptoms that are proven to be associated with the time when ovarian function is unpredictable. He also provides a discussion of the impact of the permanent change in ovarian function that occurs after menstruation ceases.

Menopause affects many parts of a woman’s body: her cardiovascular system, fat distribution, bone health, temperature stability, sleep, and sexual function. Change Your Menopause outlines these and the steps that every woman should take as she faces menopause to determine her risk for diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to use this time to do everything that she can in order to prevent illness from becoming a part of her future.

There are easy-to-understand chapters on treatment options, including an extensive one about alternative therapies and a thorough, unbiased discussion of hormone therapy. Dr. Utian points out that each woman’s menopause is different and that each woman must choose, with information and guidance from her doctor, what is the most sensible plan for her.

This is an accessible book for women who want to know the basics of menopause and who recognize that if they are armed with information from a doctor, scientist, teacher, and leader in the field of menopause for over 40 years, they can create an individual plan for symptom management and disease prevention in the second half of their lives.

I have known Dr. Utian for 20 years and his voice is clear in this book. I worked with Gail Sheehy on the first book about menopause, the best-selling The Silent Passage, published in 1992. At that time Dr. Utian was kind enough to spend time with me so that The Silent Passage would contain the best management for menopause. He told me then and he tells readers in Change Your Menopause, “Menopause is not a disease. It is a phase of life. Use it as  a wonderful opportunity to take stock, to concentrate on healthy living.”

Now he adds, “Then, get up and go. Change Your Menopause.”

Change Your Menopause is available at amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.