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Dr. Nieca Goldberg's Complete Guide to Women's Health

Nieca Goldberg, MD, with Alice Greenwood, PhD
New York: Ballantine Books; 2008
452 pages

This book attempts to be a complete guide to women’s health, including references, a glossary, resources, and an index. Dr. Goldberg and Dr. Greenwood discuss how to advocate for your best health, and proceed to cover almost all possible healthcare issues women could face at menopause related to female hormones, heart conditions, common bone and joint diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, and endocrine disorders. They cover the effects of stress, depression and anxiety. Complementary and alternative medicine options are briefly discussed, as well as cosmetic surgeries and skin care. They conclude the book with the “Three Keys to Four-Star Health” including healthy eating, sleep, and exercise.

One strength of this book is the last section, which lays out a very reasonable step-by-step approach to making healthy lifestyle changes. Making slow improvements to diet and exercise are more likely to be successful than trying to change every bad habit at once. Good examples are given for beginning strength-training, and well-done tables present common food sources of sodium, calcium, and caffeine content.

My concerns about this book are the numerous inaccurate statements I noticed concerning subjects with which I am very familiar. Examples of these statements include saying that a hysterectomy to remove fibroids would cause “the onset of menopause symptoms,” when menopause symptoms usually only occur after removal of the ovaries. You may elect to remove your ovaries at the time of a hysterectomy but it is certainly not necessary when removing the fibroid uterus (a hysterectomy). Another example is a description of a vaginal hysterectomy that “usually does not involve removal of the cervix.” There is no way to remove a uterus vaginally without removing the cervix. A third example is the statement that “one out of seven women in the U.S. has breast cancer.” The incidence of breast cancer in women over 90 years old is one out of seven. The incidence is lower when the woman’s age is lower.

While there is a great deal of valuable information in Dr. Goldberg’s book, I feel uncomfortable recommending it when I see inaccuracies in my areas of expertise.

Review written by:

Linda Burdette, MPAS, PA-CClinical Healthcare Provider
Central Cascades Women’s Health
Yakima, WA
Member, NAMS Consumer Education Committee

The comments contained here are opinions or information of the reviewers and not necessarily the opinions or information of The North American Menopause Society, its officers, agents, or Trustees. Oversight for the book reviews is given by David A. Hutchins, MD, a member of the NAMS Consumer Education Committee.
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