Use Your Flex Spending Account for a Stroke & Cardiovascular Disease Risk Screening

As the year comes to a close, many of us are busy with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But make sure not to overlook the remaining funds in your Flex Spending Account (FSA). Unlike a Health Savings Account (HSA), an FSA has a “use it or lose it” policy.

One of the easiest ways to prevent FSA funds from going unused is to invest in your health with Life Line Screening. A $149 Screening Package assesses your risk for Stroke and Cardiovascular disease by checking for Carotid Artery Disease, Peripheral Artery Disease, Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), Atrial Fibrillation, and Osteoporosis.

Screenings are easy, non-invasive and painless. Life Line Screening is offered throughout the year at more than 13,000 locations across the country. Over 9 million people have been screened since Life Line was introduced more than 20 years ago.

Get screened for Peace of Mind or Early Detection.

The New & Only Authoritative Directory of Leading Menopause Specialists In The United States

Dear FOFriends, 

MENOPAUSE is a fact of life for women. For every single woman. Over 2M women enter menopause every year.

But millions of us – including women with PhDs – are caught completely off guard when the myriad – often troublesome – symptoms of menopause hit us. 

No surprise! 

Medical schools – even elite institutions – give little attention in their curriculum to the menopausal transition in our lives, not to mention to our  emotional well being in general.  Many gynecologists give short shrift to older patients’ distress about everything from trouble sleeping to weight gain, hot flashes to night sweats, declining libido to painful sex.  

And, we’re not talking about octogenarians when we say “older.” The majority of women begin noticing changes in their bodies during their 40s, but it’s entirely possible for a woman to enter perimenopause in her 30s. 

Fewer than 100 doctors nationwide can truly be called menopause mavens (MM)

Further complicating matters is the hesitation of many women to even bring up our experiences with our doctors. We’re embarrassed. We assume our difficulties will “pass.” Or, we figure we must grin and bear this “normal” – if not troubling – course of events. 

So, instead of enjoying this exciting and wildly productive period of our lives, we’re bedevilled by the miseries of menopause. 

Big mistake, ladies! 

Whether you suspect you’re experiencing a symptom related to this momentous transition in your life, or in the heat of it (literally and figuratively), the best thing you can do for yourself is to see a MM. There’s so much to know about this normal transition in our lives that unless you see one of these specialists, you’ll likely be misinterpreted and misdirected. 

But, up until now, finding a true MM  was no easy exercise. Google “Leading Menopause Doctors” and  you come up with a mishmash of listings covering doctors in different states. Many of them aren’t menopause specialists at all! Their websites include the popular SEO term “menopause,” so Google’s algorithms spit their names out at us. 

Even the directory on the website of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is riddled with names of members who “have asked to be included on the list,” but are about as qualified to treat menopausal women as a dentist. I don’t want to disparage NAMS, but, like many professional associations, it is severely limited in its ability to market to and help real women. 

That’s why I decided to research and compile a directory of the 100 top menopause specialists in the country.  As editor of a website for women 45+, I knew about 25 doctors off the top of my head. But after that I had to comb through hundreds of bios, websites and multiple Google listings to determine who else qualifies for the list.  It took over 100 hours to pull it together. 

Although some of these doctors work with bioidentical hormones, I assiduously tried to avoid putting someone on the list whose only specialty was HRT (hormone replacement therapy.) Many women simply don’t wish to treat their symptoms with hormones – bioidentical or otherwise.

You may live in a city that isn’t terribly convenient to the doctors on the list, but I encourage you to meet with the closest one. Many doctors are offering telehealth sessions, or you can chat with a doctor on the phone. 

I trust there are doctors who probably should be added to the list (and maybe some who should be removed). I was hard pressed to come up with even one doctor in a couple of states, but I wanted every state to be represented. I encourage you to email your recommendations to me at 

I can, however, attest to the fact that this is the best list you’ll find.


Become a Sage Woman 

I gratefully thank Ethan Lynette, partner, and Suzanne Munson, VP of product development, at Fairhaven Health, who sponsored this worthwhile project. They had absolutely no input into the names of the doctors on the list.

Fairhaven, a manufacturer of vaginal care and comfort products for each of a woman’s life stages, recently added Sage Moisturizer & Lubricant to its product lineup. It offers relief for everyday vaginal dryness and short term lubrication for increased pleasure during intimacy.

Sage is water based – without paraben preservatives – which makes it best for menopause-related vaginal dryness. It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties.

I recommend that you try Sage.  You can read more about it here. 



Dr. Jimmy Sparks
Sparks & Favor
2006 Brookwood Medical Center Drive, Suite 700
Birmingham, AL 35209


Bringing over 30 years experience to caring for his patients’ overall wellness, Dr. Sparks long-time interests include the menopause transition, osteoporosis, gynecologic surgery, and screening and risk-reducing strategies for women’s cancer. 

University of Alabama School of Medicine



Dr. Maude Vance
Denali Obgyn Clinic 
3976 University Lake Drive, Suite 300
Anchorage, AL 99508


Recognizing that every woman has different care and communication needs at each stage of life, Dr. Vance believes strongly in individualizing patients’ care. She has a special interest in perimenopause and menopause, which are often overlooked but can greatly impact a woman’s life.  

University of California, Davis, Medical School 


Ericka Mulder
Anchorage Women’s Clinic 
Providence Alaska Medical Center, C Tower, 4th floor
3260 Providence Drive, Suite 425
Anchorage, AL 99508


Ericka is passionate about empowering women to put themselves first and wants to help them look at the small thing to enhance their own health and well being. She gives patients the tools to help themselves and actively listens to their concerns, working together with them to improve their lives. 

University of Alaska Masters of Science in Nursing



Dr. Paru S. David
Mayo Clinic 
Women’s Health Internist – Menopause Specialist 
13400 East Shea Blvd.
Scottsdale, AZ 85259


Dr. Paru has studied menopause symptoms in women over 60 years old, and believes that increased awareness of the issues these women face can help healthcare providers improve the quality of their life. 

University of Missouri Medical School 


Dr. David L. Greenspan
Caring for Women’s Health
600 West Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013


As a leading OB/GYN in Phoenix, Dr.. Greenspan helps women manage their menopause symptoms by providing an array of care and treatment options that reduce symptoms as well as the risks of serious diseases.

Drexel University Medical School 


Dr. Kathleen M. Norman
St. Joseph’s Hospital & Medical Center
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013


Dr. Norman’s expertise includes menopause management, bioidentical hormone therapy, laparoscopic hysterectomies and medical aesthetics. 

University of Minnesota Medical School


Living in the Dark: Gail’s Story of Finding an Explanation for Her Mysterious Symptoms

This post was developed in collaboration with Lundbeck.

Gail had symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea for most of her adult life, but had trouble articulating them to her doctor.

“It felt like a black cloud was following me. I would experience extreme dizziness and nausea after I stood up, and it felt like I was going to black out. When I would talk to my doctors about what I was experiencing, they would say it was because of my thyroid or that I needed a B12 shot.”

Gail’s health issues also affected her career.

“Before I retired, I was an elementary school music teacher and the symptoms I was experiencing greatly impacted my life. I started to hide my symptoms at work by spending most of my day sitting. The symptoms were making my world smaller and smaller. I started staying in my house more and avoided driving as much as I could.”

Gail was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1999. She figured the reason why she had been experiencing the symptoms of dizziness, nausea, and the feeling like she was going to black out for all of those years was because of her undiagnosed Parkinson’s disease, but she came to find out that wasn’t the case. “After I retired and moved to Florida in 2000, I had to find a new neurologist. At one of my appointments, I mentioned my symptoms which prompted him to take my blood pressure readings in

different positions, including both sitting and standing, whereas my previous specialist would only take them while I was sitting down.”

It was after this appointment that she learned that the symptoms she had been experiencing all of her adult life weren’t typical for everyone with Parkinson’s.

“Ten years after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, my neurologist told me I had symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension, or nOH. I felt total relief when I found out that my symptoms were not from my Parkinson’s, but from a separate condition that is associated with neurodegenerative conditions, like Parkinson’s. The best news of all was when he told me that the symptoms could be managed.”

Gail’s neurologist informed her that there was a clinical trial starting for a drug called NORTHERA® (droxidopa) and he thought she would be a good candidate for it. “I was glad to know there was something I could try, to see if it would help manage my symptoms. I decided to participate in the clinical trial and fortunately for me, taking NORTHERA has helped relieve my symptoms, though NORTHERA might not work the same for everyone.” Please review the full Use for Northera and Important Safety Information below, including a boxed warning for Supine Hypertension.

Gail was so motivated to help others advocate for themselves that she decided to become an nOH Champion. nOH Champions are a network of patients and care partner ambassadors dedicated to educating and supporting others living with or caring for someone who has nOH. As an nOH Champion, Gail has the opportunity to share her story and raise awareness of this lesser-known condition, while empowering others at various stages of their journey. The nOH Champion program is a national program and is sponsored by Lundbeck, the manufacturer of NORTHERA.

“When people think about Parkinson’s, they tend to focus on the motor aspects of the disease, including tremors, loss of balance or difficulty moving. I wanted to share my story to encourage others who might be living with Parkinson’s disease or other neurodegenerative diseases to talk to their doctor if they are experiencing symptoms like I was. There may be a way to treat these symptoms, you just need to ask the right questions.”

      Dr. Salima Brillman

To learn more about nOH and how NORTHERA® helps treats it, Salima Brillman, MD, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist from the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center of Silicon Valley, provides the following information:

What is nOH?

“Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension is a lesser-known condition that can be associated with several neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy and pure autonomic failure. It’s due in large part to

the fact that the body does not release enough norepinephrine upon standing. As a result, blood vessels are unable to tighten as they should, preventing the blood from circulating back up to the heart and brain. This deficiency is what causes symptoms like lightheadedness, dizziness or the feeling of blacking out, among other symptoms.”

How prevalent is nOH in people with neurodegenerative conditions?

“Symptomatic nOH can present itself in about 20% of people living with Parkinson’s disease, 80% of people living with multiple system atrophy and nearly 100% of people with pure autonomic failure. Like Gail, many people don’t realize they are living with this manageable condition, which is why it’s so important to raise awareness of it.”

How is nOH diagnosed?

“As Gail mentioned, one way that nOH can be diagnosed is by a physician taking blood pressure readings while standing and sitting or during a tilt-table test, along with monitoring heart rate. If there is a sustained drop in blood pressure without an increase in heart rate, it’s suggested that the symptoms are from nOH.”

What is NORTHERA and how does it work?

NORTHERA is a prescription medication that has been shown to improve symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness and the feeling of blacking out. It is the only FDA-approved treatment specifically studied in patients with symptomatic nOH. The exact way it works is unknown, but it has been shown to have a small and temporary increase in norepinephrine. It’s important to talk with your doctor before starting or stopping any medications. Your healthcare provider should always be your first source of information and care.”

USE OF NORTHERA (droxidopa) CAPSULES (100 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg)

NORTHERA (droxidopa) is a prescription medication used to reduce dizziness, lightheadedness, or the “feeling that you are about to black out” in adults who experience a significant drop in blood pressure when changing positions or standing (called symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH)) and who have one of the following:

—  Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that causes slowness in muscle movement as well as shaking in the hands

— Multiple system atrophy (MSA), a Parkinson’s-like disorder with more widespread effects on the brain and body

— Pure autonomic failure (PAF), a neurodegenerative disease that results in frequent drops in blood pressure upon standing

— Dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency, a condition where the body cannot make enough of the hormones that help regulate blood pressure

— Non-diabetic autonomic neuropathy, an inability to maintain blood pressure upon standing that can be caused by a number of rare diseases

Effectiveness beyond 2 weeks of treatment has not been established, and your doctor will decide if you should continue taking NORTHERA.


WARNING: SUPINE HYPERTENSION (this is high blood pressure while      lying down)

When lying down, elevating the head and upper body lowers the risk of high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure in this position prior to starting and during NORTHERA treatment. If you experience high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about your NORTHERA treatment.

Do not take NORTHERA if you have a known allergy to NORTHERA or its ingredients.

• NORTHERA may cause high blood pressure when lying down, which could lead to strokes, heart attacks, and death. To reduce this risk of supine hypertension, take your late afternoon dose of NORTHERA at least 3 hours before going to bed.

• Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a rare but potentially life-threatening side effect reported with NORTHERA. Call your doctor right away and go to the nearest emergency room if you develop these signs and symptoms: high fever, stiff muscles, movements that you cannot control, confusion or problems thinking, very fast or uneven heartbeats, or increased sweating. NORTHERA should be stopped immediately if NMS is diagnosed.

• If you have coronary artery disease, irregular heartbeat, or heart failure, NORTHERA may worsen the symptoms of these disorders. Call your doctor if your symptoms become worse.

• NORTHERA may cause allergic reactions. Stop taking NORTHERA and contact your doctor right away, or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience any signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction such as: fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, swelling, trouble breathing, hives, or rash. NORTHERA contains tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No. 5), which may also cause an allergic reaction, especially if you have had a reaction to aspirin.

• The most common side effects with NORTHERA are headache, dizziness, nausea, and high blood pressure.

• Taking NORTHERA with other medications may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if you take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

• You should not breastfeed during treatment with NORTHERA.

• If you plan to become or are currently pregnant, talk to your doctor as it is not known if NORTHERA could harm your unborn baby.

• Take NORTHERA the same way each time, either with or without food.

• If you miss a dose of NORTHERA, take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not double the dose.

For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning for supine hypertension, or go to

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

©2020 Lundbeck. All rights reserved. NORTHERA is a registered trademark of Lundbeck NA. Ltd. DRX-B-100390

Life Line Screening Wants to Keep You Healthy

Life Line Screening compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write this post. Regardless, I started having its health screenings years before this, and I only recommend products or services that I believe will benefit others. Geri Brin, Founder, 

Now more than ever, it’s critical to know your risk for Cardiovascular Disease

I’m concerned about being part of a high-risk group if I get the virus that’s turned our world upside down. And, at 73, my lungs and my heart could be even more vulnerable to harm if I had problems before COVID-19 became part of my vocabulary. While lung injury and respiratory problems took center stage as the most frightening complications of COVID-19, Cardiovascular Disease  is another. 

Alarming facts: About 10 percent of patients with pre-existing Cardiovascular Disease who contract COVID-19 will die, compared with only 1 percent of patients who are otherwise healthy, according to an article in the health blog from Harvard Medical School.  

Unfortunately, the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean you’re absolutely free of Cardiovascular Disease. This new viral infection, fever, and inflammation can destabilize heart vessel blockages you didn’t even know you had. This makes it imperative for anyone in the high-risk group to take ownership of your health and do everything you possibly can to avoid hospitalizations by eating right, exercising and getting screened for stroke and cardiovascular disease. 

Even without the risks associated with COVID-19, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Now that you’re moving around a bit more freely, one of the first tasks on your agenda should be to understand your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Life Line Screening makes it easy by offering a special package of five preventative screening tests: 1) Atrial fibrillation or AFIB, a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clot, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. 2) Peripheral arterial disease, a circulatory condition in which blood vessels narrowed by plaque reduce blood flow to the limbs. P.A.D. usually affects the arteries in the legs, but it also can affect the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys, and stomach. Peripheral artery disease may be an indication that plaque is also present in other areas of the body. 3) Plaque in the carotid arteries, which are the two large blood vessels on each side of the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain, neck and face. The carotid artery narrows and affects blood flow to the brain when it becomes clogged with plaque, and complications can be serious. If any of the plaque breaks off, it can block the blood flow to the brain completely, causing a stroke. Plaque in the arteries can develop over time without causing a singly symptom. 4) Abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body. Over time, the blood vessel balloons and is at risk for bursting or tearing, which can cause life- threatening bleeding and potentially death. 5) Osteoporosis, a loss of bone density or mass. 

Life Line has provided preventive screening to millions for 25 years – and at remarkably fair fees – precisely what convinced me to first have its tests in 2010.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In response to COVID-19, Lifeline is taking precautions to protect its customers and employees by following all CDC, state and local guidelines for cleanliness, personal protective equipment and social distancing. Masks are required for everyone; appointments are limited, and temperatures are taken prior to entering a facility.

Life Line Warned Me. I Didn’t Listen

I wasn’t overly concerned when I learned my right carotid artery had mild fatty plaque since it wasn’t a dire threat to my health, at least not immediately. Uncharacteristically, I dismissed the report recommendation to follow up with my doctor, too preoccupied with launching this website at the time. I felt good and had no signs of a problem. My weight was reasonable. I exercised. Didn’t smoke or drink. 

My blasé attitude had troubling consequences. 

By last year, my weight had spun out of control, I was working out less, and a new ultrasound showed a dramatic increase in the plaque. Now the bad stuff was narrowing the right carotid artery somewhere between 59 and 80 percent. That got my attention, even if there wasn’t a single symptom. If a piece of plaque broke off and blocked the blood flow, I could have a stroke. To make matters worse, my cholesterol numbers were dismal. My doctor started me on statin therapy right away to lower my cholesterol, told me to lose weight, start exercising again, and to take low-dose baby aspirin every day.  

Ironically, most doctors won’t recommend screenings for carotid artery or peripheral arterial disease for asymptomatic patients with no family history of stroke or heart attack. What’s more, Medicare doesn’t cover the tests unless someone has experienced symptoms. Without coverage, it’s costly to have tests like this done at a hospital. The United States health system isn’t a shining example of how to practice preventive medicine. 

Having no reason to suspect any cardiovascular problems a decade ago, I actually arranged for the first ultrasound through Life Line Screening as a preventive measure. When the original results showed mild plaque, it should have been fair warning not to let myself go. After all, that’s what preventive health care means. That’s what makes Life Line a smart idea.

The Life Line Screening Difference

View of right carotid artery

When Life Line recently contacted me about introducing its screening service to my FOFriends, I didn’t hesitate. After all, they discovered the plaque in my carotid artery at an early stage, not to mention early bone loss, and suggested that I see my own doctor. Pretty foolish not to heed their advice. “Every day we find people across the country with significant carotid artery and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Keith Coffee, Chief Medical Officer at Life Line. 

Only $149 For All Five Screenings

“We discovered about 62K overall health risks in 2017 alone,” Dr. Coffee said. A team of highly qualified, board-certified radiologists throughout the country, led by a vascular surgeon, reads all ultrasound images as well as the electrocardiograms for AFIB. 

“These are screenings, not diagnostic tests,” Dr. Coffee stressed. “We encourage patients to share their results with their doctors so they can together discuss the appropriate treatment, if necessary.” (Remember, that’s what I didn’t do!)  Life Line doesn’t have physicians available who can discuss the test results with patients, and it doesn’t interact with patients’ physicians. They do provide a summary of the results that you can share with your doctor. “We simply provide the incentive for patients to take the right steps for their health,” Dr. Coffee noted. 

If Life Line Screening discovers a life threatening condition, however, such as an aneurysm that’s about to rupture, it will send someone right to the ER and call for an ambulance if they wish. “Our customers tell us that we’ve possibly saved their lives. We get letters all the time from people who had no symptoms and thought they were just fine, but were at risk for having a large aneurysm about the rupture,” Dr. Coffee said.

In and Out In 90 Minutes Or Less

Life Line serves 60 cities across the country each day. Teams at the screening sites include at least two ultrasound stenographers who hold certificates in ultrasound technology, and two medical assistants who are cross trained to perform tests including electrocardiograms for heart rhythm, fingerstick blood tests, and peripheral pulses. A nurse practitioner joins most of the teams to see people 65+ years old for Annual Wellness Visits, which are covered under Medicare.

While most people opt for the basic, five-test package I described earlier, many decide to get their cholesterol and glucose checked during the same appointment, Dr. Coffee told me.  Life Line Screening offers 15 preventive screening blood tests, including thyroid function, vitamin D, and hemoglobin A1C for diabetes. It also provides a take-home test for detection of colorectal cancer. A call center with 300 trained employees helps participants decide what tests are right for them, based on their age, risk factors and medical history.

Testing is done in churches, at community centers, fraternal organizations and occasionally in hotel ballrooms. When Life Line works with affiliates, such as hospitals, anyone with abnormal results is referred back to the hospital. It also offers exclusive screenings for employees of large corporations as part of their healthcare plans. “Our goal is to get people in and out in 60 to 90 minutes, which includes paperwork and waiting time,” Dr. Coffee said. 

The Results Are In

A results package arrives in the mail about three weeks after your screening. It reports on every test you took and on your risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease in general, taking into account factors including smoking, high cholesterol and family history. “We give you all the information we can to help you make lifestyle changes and modifications if you need to,” Dr. Coffee explained. If a major issue such as AFIB is discovered, a Life Line representative will call you directly, rather than having you wait for the results package. 

People generally have their first Life Line screenings at 50 years old. “We have patients in their 40s who just want to know where they fit healthwise, or maybe they have a family history of early strokes. And, we have people in their 90s,” Dr. Coffee said. Returning patients account for about half of Life Line’s annual screenings, and close to 90 percent of all patients have their own physicians. 

Get preventive screenings once you’re age fifty, whether or not you have symptoms. And pay attention to what you learn.

Wrinkles, Dry Skin, Painful Sex, Oh My!

Lower levels of estrogen and collagen during menopause can cause dehydration, which leads to thinning, sagging, fine wrinkling, and dryness, accelerating changes to the skin from head to toe. Houston based Dermatologist, Elizabeth Mullans, M.D. and Yale OB/GYN, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. offer the latest interventions for skin-related effects of aging.

Menopause begins approximately a month after a woman’s last period, and some may think their go-to skin routine doesn’t work anymore as they are now seeing dull, dry skin. Ladies, it’s that time in life for a new skin care routine to combat and lessen the effects of natural aging.

Decreased estrogen levels can cause the vulva, or outside skin surrounding the vagina to become dry too, causing irritation when walking, prolonged sitting, exercising, bike riding or running. If you are experiencing painful sex or itching and irritation following sex, your internal vaginal cells could be dry too.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to achieve healthier, more vibrant skin all over the body:

1. Clean your face twice a day with a gentle, creamy cleanser like Cetaphil or CeraVe for dry, sensitive skin. Conventional soap, foams, and gels can strip away moisture and remove the skin’s protective barrier against bacteria which helps keep it soft, supple, and hydrated. A new Italian cleansing cream called Collagenil Detergente Restitutivo is very gentle as it nourishes the skin leaving it smooth and radiant. It’s always helpful to apply heavier moisturizing cream to damp skin to help boost hydration.

2. Sun damage and hormonal changes can exacerbate wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Make sure to moisturize several times a day and use a good sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher. Exfoliating products can help shed dead skin cells, which can leave the skin dull and flaky. Collagenil created Soft-Scrub Detergente, a delicate vegetable-based cleansing cream that rolls on to gently exfoliate and remove dead cells and impurities without scratching or irritating the skin.

3. Eat as much collagen as possible with lots of brightly colored fruits, green vegetables, and nuts. These foods contain antioxidants and healthy fats which help nourish and hydrate skin and temporarily improve its firmness and plumpness. Watch out for dairy, sugary, processed foods, and carbs that can contribute to acne.

4. Vitafusion Irresistible Skin gives a beauty boost from the inside out. One serving of these gummy vitamins provides 2,500 mcg of collagen and antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin E, to support hydration, elasticity, nourishment, healthy glow, and appearance of fine lines.

5. Yoga, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques boosts circulation, which begins to slow with age. The extra oxygen and blood flow can help skin look brighter and healthier.

6. Sex, whether with a partner or masturbation, will improve blood flow and help maintain healthy tissue. Consider using a good silicone vaginal lubricant, like Replens Silky Smooth to decrease abrasion and increase pleasure.

7. Get more zzzzz’s, at least six to eight hours per night to help your body rejuvenate and maintain healthy hormone and metabolism levels.

8. Vaginal dryness can be caused by cancer treatment, diabetes, peri-menopause-post menopause. Hormone-free Replens Moisturizer can be inserted every 3-days is a first line treatment for vaginal dryness.

9. Fairhaven Health, a manufacturer of vaginal care and comfort products for each of a woman’s life stages, has created Sage Moisturizer & Lubricant, offering relief for everyday vaginal dryness and short-term lubrication for increased pleasure during intimacy.  

Sage is water based – without paraben preservatives – which makes it best for menopause -related vaginal dryness.  It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties. 

10. Avoid scented feminine hygiene sprays, pads, tampons, and toilet paper.

11. Avoid shaving or waxing the genital area, particularly if irritation is present.

12. Gently wash the vulva with plain water, a vaginal wash or an aqueous cream and avoid liquid soap, bubble bath and shower gels. Always pat dry (don’t rub).

13. If vaginal atrophy persists or worsens, you may need a prescription vaginal estrogen to get your symptoms under control.

Dryness due to aging skin is absolutely normal and women can seek comfort in knowing how to change their beauty routine to accommodate each changing lifecycle.

My Super Smart Relief for Vaginal Dryness

This is a “sponsored post.” Fairhaven Health compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

As Harriet got closer and closer to menopause, her vagina became dryer and dryer, and sex became less and less appealing. Drugstore lubricants were big turn offs. Either too thick and gooey. Or too thin and runny. “The dryness didn’t especially bother me during the day, but intimacy was downright irritating. Literally and figuratively,” Harriet said. 

Candy was right there with Harriet when it came to sex, but her vaginal dryness also affected her during the day. “I could only sit in meetings for 20 minutes or so, before it became so uncomfortable that I had to excuse myself,” Candy complained.   

Like millions of post-menopausal women, Harriet and Candy have vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), which comes from the loss of estrogen stimulation on the sensitive tissue in these areas. About 30 million women, as a matter of fact, may suffer from symptoms including pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness and vaginal irritation, according to the National Institutes of Health. 

We don’t have to suffer. 

Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricant, an exciting new non-prescription formula that can provide temporary relief from vaginal dryness, has recently come onto the market  from Fairhaven Health.  Passionate about helping women maintain their vaginal health through all life stages, Fairhaven’s vaginal care line has grown from a fertility lubricant and a feminine freshening gel to now include this new two-in-one formula for us.

Suzanne Munson, Fairhaven vice president

Suzanne Munson, Fairhaven vice president of product development & compliance, has been intimately involved (pun intended) with Sage all along its development and FDA clearance process. “During the many years I’ve been reporting on women’s health, no one has explained subjects like pH, lubrication and our ‘vaginal ecosystem’ as clearly and concisely,” said Geri Brin, founder of

Here, Suzanne covers the importance of vaginal health and what gives Sage its distinctive ability to moisturize, lubricate and contribute to our well being. 



“Lubricants may provide short-term relief for vaginal dryness and discomfort during sexual activity. Moisturizers are intended to be used primarily for the relief of vaginal dryness on a day-to-day basis.”


A clear gel, Sage is neither unpleasantly thick and gooey or so runny that you wouldn’t want to use it during the day. Its fluidity will increase comfort and pleasure during intimacy, but the formula will stay put and work for longer. 

“Our major focus during the development stage was to give Sage the ability to effectively adhere to vaginal tissue, which is called mucoadhesion. When we performed comparative studies with other formulas on the market, we found that Sage was more mucoadhesive. That makes it a two-in-one lubricant and moisturizer.   

“Sage supplements natural moisture in the vagina and provides temporary relief from vaginal dryness during intercourse or daily. Estrogen is what drives natural production of vaginal fluid, so as estrogen decreases during menopause, natural moisture declines. Sage safely mimics natural moisture and feels as natural as possible.”


“Healthy vaginal tissue continually sloughs and exfoliates cells, which is necessary for the vagina to self-clean and regenerate new cells and good bacteria. This healthy bacteria prevents pathogenic microorganisms from thriving and provoking infection. 

“Oil-based lubricants tend to coat the vaginal wall and get stuck, impacting the way the vaginal mucosa cleans itself. Silicone formulas tend to have glycerol, which has been shown to irritate the vaginal cells.

Sage Personal Moisturizer and Lubricant is water based – without paraben preservatives – which is acknowledged to be best for menopause-related vaginal dryness. It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties.” 


“pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are acidic; those with a pH greater than 7 are alkaline. A healthy vagina has a pH between 4 and 5 – similar to that of wine – which makes it naturally acidic.  

“Healthy bacteria will start to die off if the pH is below 3, and you might have something funky going on if the pH is above 5.5 (except for women in the fertile window.) Healthy, friendly bacteria produce lactic acid, which helps maintain the vagina’s acidic environment.

“When we’re addressing vaginal dryness, we want to make certain that we’re also supporting this vaginal ecosystem. If you do anything to upset the pH, you’ll kill off friendly bacteria. Sage has a pH of around 5, which is considered healthy for women as they age. By matching the pH of the healthy vagina you’re not adding a substance that will create more problems than you had when you started.”


“If you’re having discharge or odor, it could signal that your pH is too high, and out of healthy range. Healthy bacteria won’t grow, and you won’t have the lactic acid you need to keep pH at the proper level. This can be caused by diet and other lifestyle factors, including excessive sweating during exercise, using some feminine washes or douching. A douche washes out everything, for example, taking the good with the bad and removing your vaginal mucosal armour.  

“Sage alone won’t reduce your pH to a healthy level, but alternating it with our IsoFresh Balancing Vaginal Gel can help create an environment that will. With a pH of around 4.5, IsoFresh is a thicker gel that contains the vital lactic acid your vagina needs to help return its ecosystem back to normal.

“If you have bacterial vaginosis – inflammation caused by an imbalance of good and bad bacteria – you might need to see a doctor. But today antibiotics are often over prescribed, which can lead to other problems.” 


“Sage comes in a 40-gram tube with two applicators that can each be used up to 10 times. It’s a clean process and doesn’t stain. You can apply the formula with your fingers if you prefer. We recommend using two to three grams each time, but the amount will depend on what makes a woman feel comfortable. 

“Applying Sage every two to three days seems to work for most women’s daily moisturization, but if can be used more often. It also should be used before intercourse.” 

“Normally $17.95 for up to 12 applications, Sage is now available for only $9.95 to encourage lots of women to try it!”


Female Facts: How Much Do You Know?

Women (and men) tend to not know as much as we should about our own bodies. Every time I see a doctor, I’m hit with a new fact about my health! As we age, it’s even more important to be aware of the changes we can expect our bodies to experience. It’s also crucial that we understand what signals our bodies are sending us about potential diseases, so we can prevent them before it’s too late. Considering this, we’ve created a quiz to see just how much you understand about your body. Stay tuned. We’ll tell you how you did next week.

1. Lower hormone levels in menopause may lead to:

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2. Hormone therapy may be prescribed to help with bothersome menopause symptoms. This therapy may:

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A Smart, Safe and Effective New Way to Monitor Your Health at Home

Community Wellness compensated FOF to write this “sponsored post.” Regardless, we recommend only products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

Living alone in San Diego, 78-year-old Sara was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes right before the United States shut down in March due to COVID-19. Thousands of miles away in Savannah, GA, her daughter Michelle started to worry about how Sara would manage her condition. “She’s generally a self-sufficient woman, but who would monitor her blood sugar levels when she couldn’t get to the doctor?” Michelle said.

Sara’s been taking her prescribed medication, but hasn’t visited her doctor yet because she’s still fearful to venture outside during these uncertain times. When Michelle recently heard about a service called At-Home Health Monitoring from Community Wellness, she jumped at the chance to sign her mother up.

After a quick consultation with a Community Wellness doctor, Sara received her At-Home Health Monitoring Kit in the mail, which included a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitor, blood pressure monitor and digital scale. A week later, Sara received her monthly wellness check-in – right at home -with a licensed doctor who was able to review her daily glucose readings on the Community Wellness app.

Equally important for Sara was knowing that the monitoring devices and monthly check-ins with a doctor were all covered by Medicare B and came at no additional cost to her family. 

Community Wellness was born out of the desire to help patients feel more comfortable managing their chronic conditions without visiting their doctors or a hospital in-person. During challenging times like these, the At-Home Health Monitoring service provides easy access to personalized medical devices and the professional support necessary to help stay healthy.

“It’s a great complement to my mom’s primary care because it supports her need to monitor her glucose level every day. Evaluating mom’s ongoing blood sugar levels gives her Community Wellness doctor a clear picture of her overall health and wellbeing. It’s a perfect preventative measure,” Michelle said. 

Whether you’re watching over the health of a parent like Michelle, or watching over your own wellbeing, Community Wellness will empower you, help guide you and give you peace of mind.  



The Community Wellness At-Home Health Monitoring service is currently offered throughout California, with plans to expand to additional states in 2021. 


At this moment, yes, because the At-Home Health Monitoring service is associated with Medicare. Community Wellness also plans to offer the service to everyone under 65 shortly. 


Most of them do, except Medicare Advantage. If your supplement plan doesn’t cover it, you will still get the devices you need, but would pay a $19.99 monthly fee for your doctor visit. Otherwise, the devices and virtual doctor visits have zero cost.


1. Blood pressure cuff

2. Digital scale

3. Pulse oximeter that measures the oxygen levels in your blood

4. Non-contact infrared thermometer 

5. Portable heart monitor to get an EKG

6. Blood glucose monitor

*These are FDA-approved, high-quality devices that provide reliable results and have excellent reviews. 


First, visit the Community Wellness website ( and click the “Get A Free Consultation” button on the homepage. You’ll have a short consultation with a Community Wellness enrollment counselor to answer a few quick questions, and then be introduced to one of the Community Wellness’ licensed doctors. 

After answering a few key medical questions, the doctor will prescribe the Bluetooth-enabled devices that fit your health and wellbeing needs. Community Wellness also will arrange a future call to help set up your devices and have your first doctor visit.


All you need is a smartphone to set up the Community Wellness app that connects to your devices. If you require extra help, you can use the quick start, how-to guide on the app. You can also call a dedicated customer support line to guide you through the set-up process, which can be found on the Community Wellness website. 


The Community Wellness doctors are all licensed physicians in California with telehealth experience. They are recruited from practices throughout the state.

Every Community Wellness doctor is qualified to prescribe the devices patients need and provide medical advice. Each doctor must meet stringent criteria to become a Community Wellness healthcare provider, including number of years in practice, specialization, and years in telehealth.

“Patients are telling me that Community Wellness  gives them the ability to thrive with deeper doctor interactions and connections, personalized plans and connected devices that track their health in the safety and convenience of their homes. It’s their moment to take control of their wellbeing and be empowered by the trackable insights,” said Dr. Jesus Saucedo, Community Wellness Chief Medical Officer.

for the smart, safe and effective new way to monitor your health at home

Authorized Generics: What You Should Know

Greenstone compensated FOF to write this “sponsored post.” Regardless, we recommend only products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

Caregiving seems to be part of most women’s DNA, so it’s unsurprising that in the United States, we make 80 percent of healthcare decisions for our families, according to Department of Labor statistics.1 We’re making choices not just for our own health but for the well-being of our partners, our parents, and our children. Some of our most important healthcare decisions are the types of prescription medications we’re taking.

“Gone are the days when we filled the prescriptions our doctors wrote for us, no questions asked. Today, we can easily research every medication to understand how it may benefit us and our loved ones,” said 62-year-old Ginny Baxter, who picks up medication prescribed to her and her husband on a regular basis given their health conditions.

Ginny is pleased when a generic option is available for her or her husband, she explained. “I know they cost less than the leading brand name medications, work the same way, and provide the same clinical benefits,” Ginny said. But she likely would be surprised to learn about a third, lesser-known class of drugs, called “Authorized Generics.”  


➠  An Authorized Generic is produced by the manufacturer that created the original brand name drug. It’s also typically made in the same manufacturing facility as the original brand. Generally, the main difference between an Authorized Generic and the brand name is that the Authorized Generic doesn’t have the brand name on the label.2

  Authorized Generics are the same size and shape as the branded versions.2

  Authorized Generics may have different markings on the medications and, in limited cases, may be a different color than the branded versions.2

  Authorized Generics are available at generic pricing. Bear in mind, however, that a number of factors will determine what you’ll pay for your medicine, including insurance co-pays, pharmacy charges, and savings cards. You should contact your insurer or pharmacy for specific price information.


All generic medicines must meet FDA standards for approval and are considered by the FDA to be as safe and effective as the branded drugs. They also meet the same standards of quality and manufacturing as the brand name drug. However, they’re developed and produced by a company other than the original brand name manufacturer.3

Generics also may have minor differences from brand name drugs, including their inactive ingredients, shape, size, or color. Although inactive ingredients usually are harmless substances that don’t affect the body, certain patients may not tolerate them well.3-4

Now you understand the important facts about Authorized Generics and how they differ from the generics you’ve known about for years. It’s time then to visit the FDA website to learn if they’re available for the medications you or your loved ones are taking.


Greenstone, a US-based company owned by Pfizer Inc., has long been providing Authorized Generic versions of original brand name drugs, and sells over 70 of Pfizer’s leading brand name drugs as Authorized Generics. This currently includes six of the 25 most-prescribed medicines in the United States, across a broad spectrum of diseases and conditions. Greenstone also provides Authorized Generics from other manufacturers, in addition to several generics. The company receives its product materials from a global network of suppliers, and its sites in North America and Europe manufacture 100% of Greenstone’s Authorized Generics. You can find the list of its generics here.

If an Authorized Generic is available for your medication but your pharmacy does not carry it, ask the pharmacist if he or she can order it. Greenstone also offers a Pharmacy Locator Service at 1-855-222-8588 to personally help you find one of its medications at a pharmacy near you.

“So, the next time one of your doctors writes a prescription, make sure to check whether an Authorized Generic is available. And talk to your pharmacist about Authorized Generic versions of your prescribed medications,” said Geri Brin, founder of


S. Department of Labor. Fact Sheet – General Facts on Women and Job Based Health. Accessed April 28, 2020.
US Food and Drug Administration. FDA list of authorized generic drugs.
US Food and Drug Administration. Generic drugs: Questions and Answers. Accessed February 18, 2020.
Smith Marsh DE. Bioequivalence and Interchangeability of Generic Drugs. Merck Manual. Accessed February 18, 2020.

18 Minutes That Can Help Change Your Life – After Menopause

You’re in your fifties or sixties, and after years of satisfying sex with your partner, it’s the last thing you want to do nowadays. Pleasure has turned into pain, and sometimes it’s excruciating. You think this unfortunate change is part of aging, and can’t be treated, so you don’t talk about it with anyone. Not your husband, your doctor or your best friend. Besides, you’d never feel comfortable discussing intimate matters. 

If this sounds like you, you may have Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause. A fancy new medical phrase describing changes in the bladder, vulva and vagina that are associated with menopause, GSM can dramatically affect a woman’s overall quality of life, including her intimate relationship.  

Millions of women have GSM. Millions like you assume there’s nothing they can do for it. And millions don’t ever bring it up. Sadly, this remains  the prevailing attitude no matter how many articles present the real facts – yes, Virginia, there ARE treatments for GSM – and advise you to talk to your doctor.

With these circumstances in mind, FabOverFifty together with Duchesnay USA decided that if the overwhelming majority of women won’t go to their doctors, they’d bring the doctors to you! Exceptional doctors, who are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of menopausal women. What’s more, they’d introduce you to two women who were ready and willing to reveal how GSM impacted their lives, and what they did about it! 

It took many months to pull off, but this wonderful video – Straight Talk: Sex and the Menopausal Woman Painful intercourse and Vaginal Dryness – will tell you just what you need to know about GSM, in the privacy of your own home. You’ll meet Dr. James A. Simon, Director, IntimMedicine Specialists, and Dr. Barb DePree, gynecologist, menopause care specialist and paid spokesperson for Duchesnay USA, who will give you the lowdown on what’s going on “down there” as your estrogen level declines.

You’ll Learn:

➨ How many women suffer in silence and why they suffer

 What’s causing your symptoms 

 Why your symptoms won’t go away, but will progress

 Why you shouldn’t ignore your symptoms, especially if you have a partner

 What are your options for relieving your symptoms

You’ll also meet 59-year-old Lisa, who wells up in tears when she talks about how GSM started to wear on her 12-year marriage. And, you’ll hear 56-year-old Michelle reveal how unbearable pain led her to completely give up sex with her husband. 

These two forthright, intelligent and charming women tell you what treatment they chose, why they chose it, and how long it took them to regain their sexual intimacy. 

Best of all, you’ll understand why it absolutely pays to speak up, and you’ll have the invaluable knowledge you need to talk to your own doctor and explore the treatment that’s right for you. 

So make yourself a cup of coffee, or pour a glass of wine. Sit back and spend 18 short minutes with Drs. Simon and DePree, and Michelle and Lisa. We promise these 18 minutes will start you on the road to a happy and satisfying life – after menopause.  

This is a “sponsored post.” Duchesnay compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin