Ellen Dolgen’s Encore Career
Menopause isn’t exactly a subject that girlfriends hash out over happy hour. Husbands are often left in the dark too, though they usually realize something is going on with their spouses. It’s not called “The Change” for nothing.
Ellen Dolgen is an acclaimed menopause expert now, but when she experienced her first symptoms years ago, she felt lost. “I had a very hard time with perimenopause in my 40s,” explains Dolgen, a popular author and blogger who has a new book out this spring. “I had a terrible brain fog and thought I might be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. I tried very hard to be fine, because that’s what we women do. But I realized I wasn’t, and reached out to get the help I needed and deserved.”
Eventually, she figured out how to lead a healthy and happy life. And then she decided to share the wisdom she’d gleaned with everyone. Her Web site, EllenDolgen.com, is packed with useful menopause tips, from a printable symptom chart to posts on everything from age-related shrinking to shifts in sexual desire. She’s a regular guest on TV and radio talk shows, and also works with pharmaceutical companies on national educational awareness campaigns.
“It’s become my encore career,” says Dolgen, a former consultant in national politics who now serves on the boards of La Jolla’s Scripps Memorial Hospital and Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest.
Part of Dolgen’s appeal is her “ask me anything” approach to the hush-hush subject matter. She’s frank but funny, able to make talk show hosts blush — as she did on a recent Today appearance with Kathy Lee and Hoda — while lighting up the switchboards with genuine questions and concerns. And it doesn’t hurt that Dolgen is as attractive and vivacious as ever at 61, which she attributes to minding her health.
“It’s a taboo topic that women are really embarrassed about,” says Dolgen. “Women think menopause has something to do with getting old. You’re not old in your 40s. I’m not old now. I still work out, ride my bike, dance, and have fun. I have a great relationship with my husband. And that’s because I put myself on my own to-do list and found answers. It’s important that women understand that they have to educate themselves.”
Spreading the word is so important to Dolgen that she’s giving her latest e-book away for free. Readers can reserve a copy of Menopause Mondays: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving — and Thriving — During Perimenopause and Menopause this month on her Web site.
“I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, all my interviews with top scientists and specialists, and put them into this book, which I’ll be updating yearly,” Dolgen says. “I want women and the men who love them to have unfettered free access to this important information.” ANNAMARIA STEPHENS