Dr. Sharon Malone on the MenoLounge: Complete Transcript

Transcript from the MenoLounge live interview on Wednesday, March 27th 2024

Julie Gordon White: Well, hi everyone. Welcome to the MenoLounge. I'm Julie Gordon White, CEO of MenoWell, Menopause Energy and Protein Bars. And it is not Tuesday. We have a special MenoLounge for you today. I'm so excited. I know she's going to pop over here any second. I see you there. I'm going to bring you up here, Sharon.

This is always the fun part.

Super special guest today. I was going to wait till you came on, but I'm going to just sneak this up right here.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Am I on the camera? You know, I'm, I don't know what I'm doing, Julie.

Julie Gordon White: You're doing great. We can see. Can you see me? And then I can see you.

Dr. Sharon Malone: I see you. Okay.

Julie Gordon White: Oh my gosh. I am so excited. This is my advanced copy that I printed out. Your book is not going to be this gigantic in a binder, right?

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know what, we need to send you a real one. We can do that.

Julie Gordon White: Okay. Send me a real one, but I'm actually so excited to get that advanced copy. Oh my goodness! I can't wait to talk about the book today. All the things, but I have to give you that proper introduction. This is the beautiful Dr. Sharon Malone, 30 years board certified OB/GYN, chief medical officer for Alloy Women's Health and first time author.

I'm so excited. I was telling my daughter this morning, Georgia, that you know, hop on the MenoLounge. I'm talking to Dr. Sharon Malone. I already pre-ordered your book. Everybody here needs to go to Amazon or your favorite place, pre-order the book. Comes out April 9th, right?

Dr. Sharon Malone: April 9th.

Julie Gordon White: April 9th. And I said, even if you don't read it, put it on your shelf because you're going to go to it for the next 30 years, period to post.

Sharon, what did your daughter say about the book?

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know what, my daughters, you know, if you ever want to be humble, ask your daughters about something. They're like, yeah, mom, haven't we heard it all before? You know, that's, that's kind of what I get. I said, all right, just hold tight for a moment.

You're going to come back, all those questions you keep asking me, I'm going to send you to a chapter.

Julie Gordon White: Right, exactly, just go chapter seven, right. They're like, no, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. No, that's how daughters are. My daughter's like, no, I'll just, I'll put on the shelf, mom. But you know, it's such an important book for our daughters and that's part of why I wanted to spotlight that, because these aren't conversations our mothers had with us, you know, some of us are having them, you and I, we have like more than they ever want to hear, even with our sons. But that's how beautiful this book is. Sharon, I literally laughed out loud. I cried little tears, you know, I mean, it just hit on all the things. So,  congratulations.

Dr. Sharon Malone: You have made me so happy because, you know, sometimes when you have to talk, we talk about a lot of tough stuff in this book, you know, and occasionally you've got to, you've got to add a little levity, a little lightness to, you know, some heavy topics.

And I'm glad that was received as such, because I want people to understand that this book was written from love. You know, it is not from a place of scolding or chastising. You know, I wrote it mainly because I want people to understand that I'm not writing this. Yes. I'm a doctor. But I'm a sister. I'm a daughter. I'm a friend. And these are things that not only that I'm dealing with from a medical perspective, but just from, you know, the things that people I've dealt with who I love. And that was the… this is the advice that I wish they had. And it's the advice that I want every woman to have.

Julie Gordon White: So beautiful “Grown Woman Talk”, which I love the title because, you know, my grandmother from Louisiana South. Right. I know you're from originally from the South, you know, okay, girl, out of the out of here. This is grown woman talk.

Dr. Sharon Malone: You knew that as a kid, and you wanted desperately to hear what they were saying.

And you're like, you know, grown woman. This is all the stuff that they didn't tell us that that we should know and because I think that to know ahead of time really is going to have a huge factor of how you age, how you get through these things such that if per chance, one of these things happens to you.

Well, we know menopause will happen to all of us, so that's not an option.

Julie Gordon White: Totally.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Yeah. But, but even some of the other things when they come up, you'll know, you know, I say forewarned is forearmed. Mm-Hmm. .You know, so when these things come up, you know, when it's time to go to the doctor, you know what questions to ask when you go to the doctor, and then you have at least a good idea of what your options ought to be, even when you encounter these things.

Julie Gordon White: Absolutely. We can be prepared. Okay, we're going to talk about menopause, chronic stress, weight, all the things. But right before we do that, can we talk about the playlist here? You know, you and I had a lovely lunch last, I think October, but I didn't know that you were a secret DJ.

So it was, you know, “What's Going On”,  “Living My Life Like it's Golden.”

Dr. Sharon Malone: Oh, you know what, Julie, in my heart of hearts, you know, I would say if I could be anything, if I said my next life, I'd come back. I'd love to be a jazz musician, you know, or sing like Chaka Khan, something like that. But I feel like, That's probably not going to happen in this life.

So the next best thing is, you know, is to be a DJ and I love music. I always have. And anyone who knows me knows that I have a song for every occasion. It's like, “Oh, you say that. Oh, I got a song for that.” And I put these little things in my book because as I'm writing, there'll be a little musical note. And then you'll know that's the signal that there's a playlist coming at the end of each chapter.

And again, it's just another way to lighten that load a little bit, you know, and to make it a little fun. But I, my second love, you know, love medicine. Great. But if I were to do something else, I would be doing something in the music world. So that's my homage to my musical career that I never had.

Julie Gordon White: Yeah. I love it. I love that you did that. My big sis, my big sorority sister in college, she was big sister, cool breeze. And that's what I think about you, like sharing, you're like my big sister, cool breeze. So.

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know, I'm in DC, so I'm big sister, quiet storm.

Julie Gordon White: Oh, that's true. Here we have this west coast, east coast thing, right?

Remember our very first conversation…Sharon, let's hit it. Let's go into talk. Let's talk about menopause. You know, that's how you and I connected over our menopause conversation, right?

Dr. Sharon Malone: Right?

Julie Gordon White: We could talk literally for hours and hours about HRT, but can we, can you just share briefly your stance on HRT, on hormone replacement therapy, because it's such a huge conversation and I love that you come head on with it from a place of confidence, obviously from your experience. Can you give us that first?

Dr. Sharon Malone: Well, let me just make this clear to everyone. There was a time before the Women's Health Initiative, which was the study that really got everybody thinking that hormones were dangerous and scary, and they were going to give you breast cancer. And I practiced for 10 years before the Women's Health Initiative came out.

And so the message that we were giving women about hormones was pretty much the message that we're giving now, which is it relieves symptoms. You know, you treat vaginal dryness and you are decreasing the risk of heart disease. And that was really the big message that we were giving women is that you take it preventatively.

And when that study came out and it sort of dashed everybody's expectations and said that it didn't decrease your risk of heart disease. Oh, and by the way, there's an increased risk of breast cancer. The use of hormones plummeted, but it went against every… You know, like what I want women to understand, hormones are not new.

They've been used for the treatment of menopause since 1942. And women have been complaining of the symptoms of menopause for as long as they've lived long enough to experience menopause. So, you know, this notion of their good, and then an about face. We're using it. And then now this one study comes out and it was a big study, but sort of turned everything on its ear was problematic.

But for those of us who actually in real time, in 2002, actually read the study… You look at it and you say, okay, that wasn't that bad. And you realize that the study was really not indicative of the type of patients that we normally prescribe hormones. You know, we give it to women when they're symptomatic, when they're in their 40s and 50s, not when they're in their 60s and 70s.

And that's who the majority of people in that study were, with that age. And the problem was, is that the, the information that they got for women who are in their sixties and seventies was extrapolated to all women. So it has taken… And the terrible thing about it, Julie, is that we knew this in real time. You know, it's not like this was something that we're just finding out this answer.

No, my goodness. No, we knew this 20 years ago, but for whatever reason, it was really hard to get that information out into the public square.

Julie Gordon White: Yeah, there was no, there was no pulpit for that. And for me, my mom had a hysterectomy in her forties. She told me that hormone replacement is not for us. It's not for our family.

So that in my mind was never an option. It's why I went looking for natural solutions. And so. Now, you know, it's a different story.

Dr. Sharon Malone: And let me just say this. And when you say not for us, and this is something, yeah, I do know. I know that black women are probably the women who would benefit from hormone therapy the most because we have more risk factors for cardiovascular disease and we suffer from menopausal symptoms disproportionately.

Our menopausal symptoms start earlier. We go through menopause earlier, on average, about a year earlier than white women. We have symptoms that are more severe, typically the hot flashes, mood swings, sleeplessness, all of that, and they last longer. This whole transition from doing what we call perimenopause, or the menopausal transition, on average lasts for black women ten years.

Where it's anywhere from four to seven years for Asians or for white women and that means that you have an additional 10 years during which time you are not getting a good night's sleep, hot flashes, and let me say, not getting enough sleep, having hot flashes, those are independent risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, for developing hypertension, for developing obesity.

So, you know, when I say that this is somebody who, if there's anybody who needs hormone replacement therapy. And when you add to that that black women are more likely to have had hysterectomies because you don't even need to take the progestin if you are, if you've had a hysterectomy, you can take estrogen only.

I mean, it almost becomes a no brainer. I mean, black women, you know, I could go on and on. But the disparities that exist in health do not end with maternal mortality. So don't let anybody tell you that that's the part. Yes, we can focus on that. But what about the other 90% of your life? What about us?

Julie Gordon White: Right. And a third of our lives, we're menopausal. So, exactly. You touched on the fact that HRT and also just the whole menopausal experience and transition really impacts heart disease. I mean, heart disease is a huge part of it. You know, for me, I got interested in this conversation because of my own weight gain as I'm going through the transition.

And we know when your estrogen drops, here comes the weight gain and it doesn't, you don't get to pick where it comes. Not that we want it in the first place, but all around the middle, which really increases our risk. for a cardiac event. I have hypertension in my family. So, can you speak to that and how weight gain and heart disease is a huge part of this?

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know what, Julie, I don't think there's a black woman in America who doesn't have hypertension in their family. I mean, you know, lucky us, right?

Julie Gordon White:  I'm one.

Dr. Sharon Malone: I'm one of eight kids. So trust me, we've, we've got a little bit of everything, but the weight gain that happens. And the reason why so pernicious. It's not just the weight itself.

It's where the weight goes because that weight that's gathering around your middle is also gathering around your internal organs. And it's really problematic when that fat just distributes around your heart. Now we can have the debate. As to whether or not, as you get older, is it menopause that's making you gain weight or is it, is it aging that's making you gain the weight?

Julie Gordon White: And you lose muscle mass, which happens when we’re not moving as much also. So that’s part of it as well.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Yeah. And I would say that it's not really menopause itself that causes the weight gain, but what it is, is that it does affect the distribution of that weight gain. If you take away your estrogen during the menopausal transition and beyond, more of that weight tends to settle in your midsection.

And again, you tend to lose muscle and muscle is more metabolically active than fat, such that when you gain weight and you gain it as fat, that's why it's so hard to lose it. Cause fat just kind of sits there. It's like, yeah, I'm waiting for the famine that, you know, never comes.

And it's hard to lose it. So keeping your muscle mass is important, which gets us back to exercise. And let me say this. We spend a lot of time talking about weight as women. And the one thing that I urge women to do is I say, I want you to step away from the scale for a minute, for a minute. Because I don't really care what your weight is because we're not looking for a particular number That's right or what's good. Right.  

Julie Gordon White: That number is not an indicator of health necessarily. It's…

Dr. Sharon Malone: It is not. It is not. What's more important is whether or not you have what's called the metabolic syndrome, which is that dangerous triad of high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and triglycerides, and signs of sort of inflammation, chronic inflammation.

That's metabolic syndrome. And that dramatically increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes and Alzheimer's disease. I make my patients this deal. I say, “Look, we're going to work on improving those numbers. We're not going to worry about a point where most people should lose some weight. But if you can manage to do all to institute all of the healthy lifestyle behaviors that we talk about.” And again, hormone replacement is one of those things that we can use to help because it does help with that distribution of body fat. And it helps you maintain your lean muscle mass. So yes, it's a tool. But by, you know, by no means am I looking at this saying that you need to have a BMI of less than 27.

Julie Gordon White: Right. Because we also know BMI is as you described in the book, as a blunt instrument. I thought that was great because I'm small, but I'm pretty muscle dense.

So my BMI, I'm like, what, come on now, you know?

Dr. Sharon Malone: If you have, if you have great bone density, you're going to weigh more. And that's a good thing, not a bad thing. We can't, we don't really look at BMI, but I tell you this. This would be something my mother would say, you know, my mother would say, “Look in the mirror, you know, what do you think, look at that.”

You kind of look, and one of the things that really is an indicator of increased risk is your waist bigger than your hips.

Julie Gordon White: Yes, I'm so glad you said that. Our waist to hip ratio, because to be honest, share, you know, me being on the nutrition side, there's a fine line between body shaming and you know, I'm not about body shaming ever, but we know that our waist size is an indicator of our risk and it increases our risk of a cardiac event.

So waist to hip ratio. It's important and that has to do with weight also.

Dr. Sharon Malone: So let me say this because I say this for people who say, “Oh, I weigh 125.” But if you weigh 125 and your waist is bigger than your hips, you are still at risk for cardiovascular disease. There is a thing called skinny fat and we've all seen people who look like this.

They are, they don't weigh a lot, they’ve got really skinny arms and legs. Cause you know, not a lot of muscle mass there, but your weight is still concentrated in the middle. And again, by a BMI standard, you would be, Oh, great. You're in the healthy side. No, you're not. No, you're not. So that's why I said, I want people to kind of move away from the number and pay attention to those other parameters and risk factors.

And I will challenge any woman to this. Exercise like your life depends on it because it does and if you're exercising because you're trying to lose weight, you will be sorely disappointed because I mean, I heard, I would hear this all the time, you know, patients come in and say, I've been to the gym and I have a, I have a personal trainer and I've been working out three times a week and I haven't lost a pound.

Right. And what they do is they said. Well, then I'm not I'm gonna stop going. No, if you don't lose an ounce, because remember all those things that we talk about, about being strong, about being fit, about your muscle mass, you're doing great things. If you don't lose an ounce.

Julie Gordon White: So we need the muscle. We need to lift weights.

We need to have our heart be healthy and get that heart rate up. That's what we do in the gym. Right. But we, we manage our weight in the kitchen. It's what we put in our mouth. So exactly.

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know what? Full disclosure, I'm not overweight. However, I do not weigh at 65 what I weighed at 45 or what I weighed at 35.

I mean, that's just, you know, that's life. It changes that happens. I'm okay. And as long as my numbers remain good and I can stay in the healthy range, I'm good with that. To all my sister friends out there in the world, we're not looking for a number. We're looking for your health parameters.

Julie Gordon White: Not from the scale number.

Dr. Sharon Malone: On the scale numbers. Exactly.

Julie Gordon White: Really good. And in person, you are just a long, tall drink of water.

Dr. Sharon Malone: I don't know what you're talking about.

Julie Gordon White: Gorgeous. Elegant.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Trust me. It's not what it was.

Julie Gordon White: I didn't know you then. I only know you now.

Winning. Just saying. Okay. So, it's really important. Thank you for sharing that because it is a sensitive conversation, but when we approach it from the lens of our health, our heart health longevity, we can't just put our heads in the sand and say that it's okay to weigh any amount. Or that it doesn't matter, because it does, the hip to waist ratio.

Dr. Sharon Malone: And you can just look in the mirror and just go, Hmm. Okay. You know, I'm good because let me say this, you know, I come from a family and this is the other thing I want people to understand is that, people think, “Oh, it's in my genes.” It's like, okay, well, I had two parents. That neither of whom were ever overweight their entire adult lives. I had seven siblings, none of whom were overweight as young adults. Now they got overweight as well as they became middle aged and then seniors. So is it your genes? We kind of all got the same gene pool here, but what happens to people is your lifestyle changes, choices we make.

Yes, it's just lifestyle changes.  We don't have cardiovascular disease in our family in any significant way. We have cancer, but no, no cardiovascular disease. And that's the thing that people also don't associate with being overweight.

Being overweight also increases your risk of cancer.

Julie Gordon White: And you address it beautifully in the book with such heart. I know your family has had a lot more than your share of cancer. And I really appreciate how vulnerable you are sharing all of that, because we can all learn from your stories of your family.

I want to talk, speaking of your family, your beautiful sister Vivian, you tell the story about her and just really addressing chronic stress. Because as women in midlife, I think you called it the triple decker sandwich, you know, and it's not the turkey and avocado kind of sandwich that, you know.

It’s the taking care of our kids, and our parents are aging, we're at the peak of our careers, maybe even our earning power.

We've got it all piling on and our estrogens going over the cliff and the chronic stress. But the thing that struck me, I have to be honest, that you talked about women, who when tested still have chronic stress, even they, even though they don't believe they do. And I would say that's me that I'm like, I got this, I meditate, but I don't know underneath building a big business doing all the things I might be kidding myself. So share with us…

Dr. Sharon Malone: I would say women in general and black women in particular minimized stress. You get to a point where you think that's just normal, you know, we normalize stress suffering. We normalize feeling bad and we certainly normalize stress.

And this is particularly an issue for black women because you know, we all have. Your body reacts to stress for a reason. You know, you get out of a burning building. You got to do a bunch of things. We need that cortisol. We need that. But you don't need it every day, all day. And what happens when you are chronically stressed?

It is extremely toxic. To your heart, to your body, it makes you gain weight, sleep, all of that stuff, because none of these things are unconnected, you know, you know, you're stressed, you can't sleep, you can't sleep, you can't work, you feel terrible the next day, you're fatigued, what do you do when you're fatigued, you eat, you know, what happens when you eat and gain weight, you're going to exercise less because now you don't feel like it and you're tired.

Your energy is low. Right. All of these things go together, and one of the interesting things that came out of what's called the SWAN study, the study of women across the nation, where they just followed women for over 25 years, just to see what happens to them as they go through this menopausal transition and beyond. As they looked at things like sleep, they found that black women are less likely to report sleep disturbances, even though objectively, when they measure sleep at night, the number of hours of quality sleep that they got was far less.

And that gets back to what I'm saying about normalizing feeling bad. It blunts your senses. There's a sense called interoception, which means that it's an internal sense of how you feel when things are right. When you are normal, when, you know, normally you're unaware of your body parts unless they hurt, right?

We kind of like that, right?

Julie Gordon White: You don’t want to feel all the things happening here all the time. Right. I would not.

Dr. Sharon Malone: I would like to not know that my vagina is dry. You know, I would like to not know. I would like to not feel anything, you know, I would just say, Oh, look at that. I'm walking around and I'm normal.

But when you normalize. When you raise that bar and you make feeling bad your baseline, then you don't have the ability to really know when there's something wrong. And that's why I say, about this chronic stress factor, when you don't realize how bad you feel because you think that's normal and you think that’s just what aging is like.

Right. And that's how you're supposed to be.  

Julie Gordon White: Our mothers just told us, just soldier on, right? Right. Just suck it up and go, basically. Yeah.

Dr. Sharon Malone: And it not only ruins our physical health, it ruins our mental health, and we often don't get help when we need it. And it gets back to the issue of the disparity in treatment of women's menopausal symptoms, because I told you black women suffer longer, more severely, and earlier, and yet they are least likely, even when black women go to see their physicians, they are only half as likely to be given a prescription for hormone therapy, and once given that prescription, they take it home and they're only half as likely to take it.

If you had to look at a population that needs it most and gets it the least, that would be black women. And so that's why I want to encourage women, if you are bothered and this is affecting the quality of your life and how you move about in the world, then you need to go and talk to someone about getting treatment. Don't normalize suffering. Please don't do that.

Julie Gordon White: I love that. Ask for what we need, and especially as Black women, we need to ask a little bit louder and a little more often, and we need to teach our girls, teach our girls.

Not pass on the legacy, unfortunately, the broken legacy of suffering and silence. We don't need to do that.

Dr. Sharon Malone: And you know what? We have to deal. There's a really good book out now by Dr. Uche Blackstock, and that's the name of her book, “Legacy”. That was a perfect segue. But she talks about how a physician reckons with racism in medicine.

And let me say, there are a lot of things that we believe. And I say we as physicians, things that we are taught that are not true, but that influences how we interact with patients. Between black patients getting under medicated for pain, you are also less likely to be offered different types of surgery.

You know, minimally, if you have cancer, the reason why the disparities in cancer are, the mortality statistics in cancer are as bad as they are, it's not because we necessarily get more cancer, but we get less effective treatment or no treatment.We don't treat when we can.

So even when controlling for socioeconomic factors, we also have the real access problem, you know, we are overly represented in people who are underinsured or uninsured, underinsured. And so we have to deal with that. You have to deal with all the things that are out there that affect the quality of your life that don't have anything to do with you.

We ascribe a lot of things to race that aren't race. They're the circumstances. It's where you live. You live next to a toxic dump that doesn't have anything to do with your DNA that doesn't make anything about what you're doing problematic, other than where you live and what you have access to. So that's really the message that I want people to understand is that we have to personally do better, but societally we have to do better.

Julie Gordon White: Right. You know, do you want to talk about the legislation at all?

Dr. Sharon Malone: That'd be great.

Julie Gordon White: Tell us about it.

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know, of one of my many hats that I wear since I left my clinical practice three and a half years ago is that I want to do a lot. I've been doing a lot of advocacy for women in midlife, because I think that no one pays attention to us. You know what I mean? You get to a certain point. It's like, you know, who cares? Go and sit in the corner. You know?

Julie Gordon White: But we're getting louder and louder though, Sharon, for sure.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Well, and you know what? We've got some traction and I'm going to take a little bit of credit for that because it's been collectively all of us out here, who have been raising our voices and making sure that issues about menopause and perimenopause are recognized. Not just for the bothersome symptoms, but for long term health. It requires educating doctors, it requires making sure that there are research dollars dedicated to women in midlife.

Yes, Dr. Lisa Mosconi, who's out there for you. Finally, you know, looking at women's brains, I'm like, we're women, we have Alzheimer's at twice the rate of men. Two thirds of all Alzheimer's patients are women. Black women have twice the risk of Alzheimer's as white women. This is not new news either.

Why has no one said, huh, wonder why that is and wonder if there's anything we can do about it.

Julie Gordon White: You know, this is like Dr. Stacy Sims talking about women are not small men, but we've been treated as small men. They figure we're taken care of in these bigger studies, but we have not been not at all.

Dr. Sharon Malone: We need representation, not only in study participants, but we need representation in researchers. Because researchers, the one thing, and I'm not blaming, it's just the way it is. People do research where they can get money to do the research. That's why there's so much research that's funded by pharmaceutical companies because that's where the money is.

And that's where I think that it's the role our government. NIH has a huge role to play, because they are big funders of medical research. And that's where we have the ability to say, we're going to decide how our research dollars are spent. It's time for women to raise our hands and speak up to say, “Hey, we need answers.” It's not enough to say we'll do it on men and then we'll scale it down for you and hopefully it works.

Julie Gordon White: Not the same, not the same. Well, we'll keep our fingers crossed that $13 billion of research legislation goes through and we get that funded. Hopefully we can pile on to that, right?

Dr. Sharon Malone: Yep. That’s just the beginning. That's just the beginning. Because remember, we're half the population. Right. We don't get half the research dollars, but we're half the population.

Julie Gordon White: Well, hopefully, now that the millennials are now perimenopausal, here we are, you know, I'm the end of Gen X, we've got boomers here, and we're getting loud, and we have the money. Right. Maybe now all of that influx and pressure conversation is going to finally get some dollars where we need them so we can understand our bodies.

So at least our daughters, your two daughters, my daughter, you know, my son's even, you know, because I always say every man knows a menopausal woman. They need to be a part of this too. So exactly. Really, really good. So if you haven't already, I'm gonna hold up my binder of your book Sharon.

Okay? You have the real one. There you go. That one. You're cuter than mine. I still love mine, Sharon. I'm just saying.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Oh, we're gonna get you a real one. A real one, okay.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Oh, we're gonna get you a real one. A real one, okay. Don't have to worry.

Julie Gordon White: So how about a couple of tips, some grown woman talk tips from Dr. Sharon that you, little nuggets you want to pull out of the book.

Maybe something that you didn't say that you wanted to say, but what would, what would you like to share in the last few minutes?

Dr. Sharon Malone: You know what I have to say is so basic. But, you know,  and the way that I sort of framed it in the book is that I'm going to say it to you as many different ways as I can say it, but I'm going to give you a different reason why you need to do it.

So, we get the basic thing. Don't smoke. Alcohol, we used to think alcohol was good for your heart. Not really, you know, alcohol, but come on, there's got to be some joy in the world, right? So yes, just limit the amount of alcohol that you take in. Get a good night's sleep, exercise.

And let me just say, again, exercise for exercise sake, because you're going to have tremendous effects throughout your body. And then the other thing is try to minimize the stress in your life. And even when you can't minimize the stress in your life, try to figure out ways that you can cope with stress.

But this is the advice I would give you, the advice of a 65 year old, looking back to my 45 year old self. I would say, “Don't stay in situations that stress you out.” or “Let's be able to call it out or name it.” Toxic relationships, be they,  romantic relationships or friendships.

Friendships can be toxic. Remove yourself from that situation, you know, because there are, there's a lot we can't control in our life. There's a lot. I get that. But to the extent that you can and whether you do that through meditation and exercises, a good stress reliever, prayer, yoga, whatever it is, just understand that.

Don't let that chronic stress sit with you because it's not doing you any good mentally or physically.

Julie Gordon White: Beautiful and you know what the most basic things are the things. Sharon, we're always looking for the most complex, the latest this, that. It's the things that your mother told you before her beautiful spirit passed. Your beautiful sisters, my mother. It's the basics and we just focus on eating well, sleeping well, having beautiful people in our lives and taking care of ourselves.

That's what we need to do. And like you say in the book, you know, going into the fourth quarter of our lives, that's when we're adding all the value. Oh, my goodness.

Dr. Sharon Malone: And you know what, Julie, here's the good news because, I think the reason why it's so helpful that we keep talking because I want young women to see this is what 40 looks like.

This is what 50 looks like. This is what 60 looks like. There is no reason in the world where someone should say, Oh my God, woe is me. No, you can stay vital and fit and engaged. And let me say this about menopause, because we spent a lot of time talking about the negative aspects of menopause.

I'm just as happy as I could possibly be, you know, I don't think I've been happier.

Julie Gordon White: I think there's a study out that says women are actually happier in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Probably because we get our lives back, you know, I'm going to be 59 next month. It just gets freaking better and better and better. I'm just saying.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Yes. Yes. So just keep that in mind. This is what, this is what 59 looks like. This is what 65 looks like. Look at, you know, look at all these women who are out here talking and these should be your role models. Not just thinking that the inevitability of disease and death. It will come, but let's push that tendency way off in the future.

Julie Gordon White: Oh, that's so good. So good. Sharon. I want to ask you, I ask all my guests, it's one question, you know, our company's called MenoWell, and there's a reason why. Because that's what women told us they wanted to do. So what does the phrase MenoWell mean to you, Sharon?

Dr. Sharon Malone: MenoWell means reclaiming. In the words of my Auntie Maxine, reclaiming my time, you know, of being able, this is the first time in my adult life that I could pay attention to me and not put someone else's needs above mine.

Yes, I do care about my children and I certainly care about my husband, but at the end of the day, I get to put me first. And that's what MenoWell means to me. And I hope that people understand that that's not being selfish. That's just self-care.

Julie Gordon White: That's self-care. That's so beautiful.

It's our time. Sharon, it's our time. That's what grown woman talk actually is all about. Okay. Hold your book up since you have the print out. Okay, screenshot. There you go. You know, Instagram always makes everything look in reverse.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Well, you know what and I would say and please order it now and then check and go to my Instagram. It's @SMalonemd. I'm gonna be out there in the world and I may be coming to a city somewhere near you. So please check out my Instagram and see where I'm gonna be and please come out to see me. And you know what? It makes a good Mother's Day present too, by the way. Okay.

Julie Gordon White: So this is what I think. I think if you're in a book club, you need to have the book for the book club. You've got to send it to your girls. So your daughters, your besties, just pre-order it for them in advance and have those conversations. It's like menopause. We need to have them, but there's so many other good conversations in your book that need to be had.

It is a resource. And besides it has the most, should I swear, like kick ass playlist in it too. The only song you forgot was Unwritten. That's one of my favorites. That's my Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield because I feel like the rest is still unwritten.

Dr. Sharon Malone: We'll see. I'll have to put that in the addendum.

Okay. I'm not writing another book. It'll just be in the addendum.

Julie Gordon White: That's what everybody says. Huh. There's going to be a part two. I know. Sharon, thank you so much. Your book comes out August 9th, but you can preorder it. I'm sorry, April 9th, not August, April 9th, like two minutes away. You can pre-order it everywhere right now.

You're on a book tour. I see you're going to be with one of my favorite people, Abby. Love Abby so much. And all over. Thank you so much for your time today. I know you've got a lot coming up. I'm so excited for you. Thank you so much for being here with me.

Dr. Sharon Malone: Thank you, Julie.

This has been a long time coming, but it was well worth it. Thank you for having me. Thank you.

Julie Gordon White: So glad Sharon. Be well. And I'm going to see you coming up in a couple of weeks in May for Let's Talk Menopause (in Chicago) and other things. So I'll see you on your side of the world. All right. Be well, be well. Thanks so much.

Bye Bye.