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Beth Battaglino, RN-C, CEO of HealthyWomen

Beth brings a unique combination of sharp business expertise and women's health insight to her leadership of the organization. Beth has worked in the health care industry for more than 25 years helping to define and drive public education programs on a broad range of women's health issues. She launched and has expanded the brand. As a result of her leadership, HealthyWomen was recognized as one of the top 100 women's health web sites by Forbes for three consecutive years, and was recognized by Oprah magazine as one of the top women's health web sites. HealthyWomen now connects to millions of women across the country through its wide program distribution and innovative use of technology.

Beth is responsible for the business development and strategic positioning of HealthyWomen. She creates partnerships with key health care professionals and consumer groups to provide strategic, engaging and informative award-winning programs. She serves as the organization's chief spokesperson, regularly participating in corporate, non-profit, community and media events. She also is a practicing nurse in maternal child health at Riverview Medical Center- Hackensack Meridian Health, in Red Bank, NJ.

In addition to her nursing degree, Beth holds degrees in political science, business and public administration from Marymount University.

To stay sane, she loves to run and compete in road races. She enjoys skiing and sailing with her husband and young son, and welcoming new babies into the world.

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7 Perimenopause Symptoms You Need to Know About Now

7 Perimenopause Symptoms You Need to Know About Now

If you’re experiencing irregular periods, mood swings and hot flashes, you may be in perimenopause, the walk-up to menopause. Learn the symptoms of this transitional period.

Menopause & Aging Well

Your period has been with you for a long time, so once it starts playing disappearing acts on you, you know something is up.

Suddenly, your periods and the symptoms surrounding them seem to occupy nearly all your time and thoughts, except when you're sleeping (or trying to—more on that later).

You're no doubt familiar with the term "menopause," defined as when you completely stop having periods. It's "official" when you've gone 12 consecutive months without one. Many women take comfort in the fact that they can bid farewell to their monthly cycle, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and birth control worries.

But the years leading up to menopause—known as perimenopause—can be like a wild roller coaster ride.

Perimenopause begins about 8 to 10 years before menopause and lasts until menopause, which is when your ovaries cease producing eggs and run out of most of their estrogen. Usually the process hits during your mid-to-late 40s but can occur as early as your 30s or as late as your 50s.

Every woman experiences this transition differently, but the basic biology is the same: Levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to drop. Rather than drop in an orderly fashion, the hormones fluctuate erratically. Estrogen's drop accelerates during the last one or two years of perimenopause, which is typically when menopausal symptoms become more pronounced.

According to the North American Menopause Society, the transition phase usually lasts anywhere from four to eight years. Some lucky women only experience symptoms for a few months, and others may not even be aware of the fact that they are in perimenopause. But for many women, these changes can be uncomfortable and bothersome, so it's important to know some facts about perimenopause.

  1. You can still get pregnant. Even though you may not be menstruating each month, you are still fertile, so continue to use some form of birth control until you've gone 12 consecutive months without a period.
  2. Your period will become erratic and unpredictable. Some months, you'll skip it altogether, while others, you'll have a much longer—or shorter—cycle than normal.
  3. Your flow will ebb and flow. A light, barely there period can occur one month and a much heavier-than-normal period another month. A good general rule: Always be prepared for just about anything.
  4. Your thermostat will become confused. You're hot, then you're chilled. Sudden heat waves (hot flashes) last for between one and five minutes (but can seem like an eternity). You sweat, your face turns red and your heart beats rapidly. When it's all over, you may be chilled. (This is a good time to dress in layers.)
  5. Your vagina may change. Estrogen loss can render vaginal tissues dry and thin, making sex uncomfortable. Pain, itching and burning can ensue, too.
  6. You're emotional. Mood swings, though temporary, can make you feel like you're losing it. Women who have suffered from severe PMS in the past are more likely to get depressed during this time, but it will likely pass once you settle into menopause.
  7. You're tossing and turning at night. Hormonal fluctuations and night sweats (hot flashes while you're sleeping) can leave you sleep deprived, wet and cranky. These symptoms make both falling and staying asleep problematic. Find out more about the menopausal transition and sleep problems.

Take heart in the fact that like all phases, this, too, shall pass. In the meantime, eat right, stay active and manage your stress. These tactics will go a long way toward dealing with the transition.

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