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    The Change Before 'The Change'

    Hot Flashes, Infertility, Happen Earlier Than You'd Expect

    Taking Stock of Life, Lifestyle continued...

    There are also numerous synthetic and natural "bioidentical" estrogen products to help stabilize your hormone levels, including mini pills and patches, she adds.

    For heaven's sake, take control of your weight, says Corio. "I don't believe HRT causes breast cancer. There are many reasons why it occurs, but I think weight is one big reason. Women need to get their weight under control -- and the younger they start, the better."

    Other good advice: Get your cholesterol level checked, get on a healthy diet, stop smoking, start taking a multivitamin, get regular exercise -- "good, common-sense things," says McGee. "It's a matter of learning to take care of yourself."

    "Women are living longer than ever before," McGee tells WebMD. "Now, when you reach 40, it really is midlife. Women live one-third or more of their lives after menopause. We have to take care of our bodies so they last that long."

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