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Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz

Pat Wingert’s enthusiasm for her craft has not waned over her 45-year career in print journalism. A natural leader, Wingert was the editor in chief of The Daily Illini and then segued into the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. As a 25-year correspondent for Newsweek, she delved into a wide range of issues, including politics, social trends and education. Wingert was named a Spencer Fellow at Columbia University, where she spent a year researching and writing about education. She is currently a reporter for the nonprofit Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media.

Barbara Kantrowitz is an award-winning magazine editor and writer. She worked at Newsweek for nearly 25 years in the magazine’s society section, where she wrote and edited dozens of cover stories on health, education, religion and women’s issues. Kantrowitz has also worked at People, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday and The Hartford Courant, and has freelanced for many national publications. She is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she has been an adjunct professor since 2009.

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mature woman touching sweater and having hot flash

Remedy for Irregular Periods and Hot Flashes

Ask the Expert


I'm 49 and having periods every couple of months. I'm also having hot flashes. What's the best remedy?


You should first try non-drug measures: get more exercise, stop smoking, learn stress-reduction techniques. If none of these work and hot flashes are really interfering with your normal functioning, your doctor may suggest medication. As long as you're ovulating and could get pregnant, you still need to worry about contraception. A low-dose birth-control pill would solve both problems for now. Generally, doctors do not prescribe menopausal hormone therapy for women in your situation because the estrogen wouldn't be potent enough to inhibit ovulation and you could still get pregnant.

Many women in their 40s and 50s may be reluctant to take birth-control pills because they remember that, many years ago, the pills were considered dangerous if you took them after age 35. That's no longer the case. Today's lower-dose pills are considered safe for midlife women who need contraception, as long as they don't smoke and are not at risk for blood clots. And birth-control pills can have some health benefits as well. Research has shown that they may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and pelvic inflammatory disease.

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