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Menopause: The Complete Guide

Nicole Jaff
Johannesburg, South Africa; Penguin Books: 2008
355 pages

As the title suggests, this is a broad guide to menopause. Ms. Jaff takes complicated topics and explains them in clear language with attention to evidence. She makes every attempt to explain to the reader the science and studies that inform her areas of discussion. She reviews the medical literature and is able to take the key messages and discuss them in ways that are meaningful to the lay reader. At the end of each chapter, she offers what she calls “empowerment points,” or take-home messages that are often referred to in medicine as “clinical pearls.”

What is unique about this book is the attention paid to the position statements of leading organizations and Jaff’s clear interpretation of what these statements mean. She reviews not only traditional menopause topics, such as hormone therapy and common symptoms, but offers individual chapters on topics specific to both menopause and aging, including cancer in menopausal women, bone health, heart health, and diet and nutrition.

Several chapters begin with anecdotes that serve as starting points for a variety of topics. While some paint physicians as paternal, directive, and not at all representative of current North American standards of care, others are representative and relatable to the reader. Ms. Jaff does an excellent job of debunking anecdotal medicine, unlike many other books available on the market.

This is a worthwhile read and I would definitely recommend it to women in my practice looking to be informed about menopausal health. This book will allow them to have more informed discussions with their own healthcare practitioners.

Review written by:

Marla Shapiro, MDCM, CCFP, MHSc, FRCP(C), FCFP
Associate Professor
Department of Family and Community Medicine
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON
Credentialed NAMS Menopause Practitioner
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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