EARLY FLASH POINTS

BESET BY SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY EBBING HORMONES, WOMEN IN MIDLIFE TURN TO HERBS AND HEALTH FOODS TO SMOOTH OUT THE ROCKY ROAD TO MENOPAUSE

Four years ago, when she was 47, Nina Shandler turned into a red-eyed wretch, wrung out by hot flashes that banished sleep. There she was, lying in bed, soaking in her own sweat, awakened "at two-hour intervals every single night by a self-generated tropical typhoon." She knew the term hot flash but hadn't expected to encounter one this side of 50. What conventional wisdom had neglected to convey to Shandler is that long before menopause occurs and menstrual cycles cease, women in their 30s and 40s can be subject to distressing symptoms. Like adolescence in reverse, the transition out of fertility,...

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