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If anyone would have told me that I would go into full menopause at 43 years old, I would have said “no way.” Everything about maturing for me came right on schedule. I got my period at 12 ½ years old. I got the same teenage breakouts that all the kids got. I started wearing a bra at the age of about 13 (even if I didn’t have much to show for it).

I got my period every 28 days, right on schedule, with the same horrible cramps that go with periods. My mother use to put a lovely hot water bottle on my sore tummy to make it feel better: NOT! Nothing worked and then there were days when I stayed home from school because I was in such pain.

Not until my third child was born – I was 25 then – did I get relief from the cramps, but then other problems arose. I developed endometriosis, which resulted in a different type of pain, but severe enough to be quite inhibiting.

Years pass and at age 43 I just started to feel different. I mentioned this to my gynecologist; (not Dr. Greene) thinking that I might be starting menopause. She laughed at me and told me I was too young and sent me on my way. I did get a period after that visit, and that was the last period I ever got again.

How lucky I felt. No more endometriosis discomfort; they told me that the only relief for this condition (back then) was a hysterectomy or menopause. When my period stopped, my symptoms went away. No more bloating, no more sensitive breasts, no more PMS, and no more six- or seven-day periods, but most of all no more endometrium pain: ALL GONE!!

I never experienced peri menopause, I just went for the big one, right into to the center of the storm: NEW SYMPTOMS!!!

First came the hot flashes, fast and furious, (while I stuck my head in the refrigerator just to cool off), and the night sweats. It felt like I couldn’t breathe and it seemed impossible to find a cool spot on the bed. The mood swings: OYE, impossible. My sleeping habits changed too and I had some sleepless nights, and the vaginal dryness was awful.

I was not that much older than Angelina Jolie when I entered that world. I find her to be a very brave and intelligent woman to make such a hard decision about her body. More than likely she will experience what it feels like to enter menopause, just a bit sooner than later.  Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we have come so far in medicine that now there is a blood test to see if one is a candidate for breast or ovarian cancer?

PAN Photo Agency /

Now many years past menopause, I still experience hot flashes, mostly in the mornings. Unfortunately vaginal dryness never went away and in fact just got worse: Not unusual as we age. The walls of the vagina loose their elasticity as our estrogen decreases.  Of course one natural solution is VAGINAL RENEWAL COMPLEX.

Whether a celebrity or not, we as women all share the same issues.  But the visibility of a celebrity comes with its own responsibility, and I have great respect for Angelina Jolie for sharing her story with us. It makes my mission even greater. We are WOMEN HELPING WOMEN.

Author: Olga Cohen

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