Have a question about women’s health or menopause? Dr. Patricia Yarberry Allen may have the answer. Click here to send in your question to be posted on WVFC.

Question: I have always been very sensitive to hormonal change. I had terrible PMS and baby blues. I loved being pregnant. My mother and her sister used hormone therapy for 15 years because they could not function without hormones. They both were really out of control without hormones (they weren’t angels on hormones, either!). I have a very demanding job and I can not afford to be volatile or have fuzzy thinking. What can I do?

Dr. Patrica Yarberry Allen: This is a common question that doctors hear. First of all, your mother and aunt were certainly not great role models for managing menopause. It is normal to fear that we will be just like a family member who was the county ax murderer, but this is almost always unfounded. Please plan to be lucky. Choose the positive, not the toxic and negative, as your destiny.

Mood change can often be controlled by lifestyle change: daily exercise and a diet that is based on frequent small meals that deliver fuel in a stable way — with almost no sugar, sugar substitutes or simple carbohydrates. Avoid alcohol, since it affects mood, sleep and cognitive function.

Identify saboteurs in your life and create a plan to keep them from triggering your mood change, dietary or alcohol indiscretions. Work on your negotiating style. Avoid the easy escalation of arguments. Just put that gun down, ma’m and walk away from the car!

Learn to focus, focus, focus. Many women go through life happily and successfully multi-tasking. During the period of hormonal change of the menopausal transition, learn to do one task at a time in a very focused way. This will significantly improve your cognitive fuzziness.

Patricia Yarberry Allen, director of the New York Menopause Center, is a gynecologist affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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