Dona Caine-Francis, NP, CNS
Westport, CT: Praeger: 2008
The intent of Managing Menopause Beautifully is to provide a reader-friendly primer on everything women want to know to remain physically, emotionally, and sexually vibrant before, during, and after menopause. The author uses clear lay language to present her perspective on a wide variety of issues related to menopause. Ms. Caine-Francis uses a very positive approach to encourage women to take care of themselves as they age. If a woman is struggling with finding benefits associated with aging, the author reframes the negatives into positives.
The author presents a balanced view of the controversy regarding compounded bioidentical hormones and concludes that a woman and her provider should select the treatment that is most suitable for the individual.
While the book is very readable and conveys a positive model of self-care and the development of a positive patient-provider relationship, there are several areas where the information provided does not reflect current evidence. For example, the author recommends annual Pap tests for postmenopausal women, a suggestion inconsistent with current Pap smear guidelines.
Another questionable recommendation is to have saliva or serum hormone testing done to determine a hormonal baseline in order to select the best treatment option for menopause symptoms. This suggestion is not evidence based. NAMS notes that saliva testing has not been shown to be effective and that serum testing is not valid because hormone levels fluctuate frequently throughout the day and around menopause from day to day.
The author endorses specific products to correct sexual problems -- a questionable practice.
Although Managing Menopause Beautifully is easy to read and understand, and presents a very positive and healthy approach to menopause, I would hesitate to recommend it to my patients because of the questionable accuracy of some of the information that is provided.
Catherine L. Juve, PhD, MPH, WHNP, RN
Professor, School of Nursing
University of Minnesota
Member, NAMS Professional Education Committee