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Menopause, womens health focus of new book by Dr. Sharon Malone

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(NEW YORK) — Dr. Sharon Malone, a board-certified OB/GYN, is on a mission to help women understand the importance of critical thinking when it comes to health products. She advises readers to scrutinize everything they consume, even items marketed as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’, as she says these terms can often be misleading marketing ploys.

Malone discussed her new book, “Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy,” with ABC News, and focused on how women over 40 should take care of themselves and be their best health advocates.

She also tackles vitamins and supplements in her book, stating that most are harmless. Some do nothing, she says, despite their claims, while others are known to interact poorly with certain prescription medications.

Malone also spoke about the importance of a healthy diet consisting of whole foods, whole grains and unprocessed foods.

ABC NEWS LIVE: Former first lady Michelle Obama has called our next guest one of the smartest, funniest and most charismatic women she knows. And now, leading OB-GYN Dr. Sharon Malone is sharing some of her wisdom, experience and humor with readers when it comes to women’s health.

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Her new book, “Grown Women Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy,” gives a practical guide to aging and being a woman who has felt disregarded or disempowered in the health care system. Dr. Malone gives a personal and relatable look into how you can be the best and most important advocate for your health.

And joining us now is none other than Dr. Sharon Malone, chief medical adviser for Alloy Women’s Health. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us.

MALONE: Thank you for having me.

ABC NEWS LIVE: OK. So you’ve been practicing medicine for more than 30 years in our nation’s capital. Why did you decide: ‘You know what? I’m going to write a book.’

SHARON MALONE: You know, when I stopped practicing, I did it rather abruptly because, you know, I was part of that great COVID-19 resignation. And I left the end of 2020, and I didn’t really feel like I was done. And I wanted to be able to use all of this wisdom, all of this knowledge and expertise and sort of leverage it over many, many, many women as opposed to just one-on-one in my office.

ABC NEWS LIVE: You mentioned your mom. You talk a lot in the book about your upbringing growing up in Alabama, losing your mom to colon cancer early on. And I thought it was really interesting. You talked about the idea of those medical records that die and knowing the family history medically, how important that is. Explain why people need to really talk about that.

MALONE: You know, the thing that we don’t talk a lot about is our health, and particularly to our elders. And I think medical history and our family history is so important because it gives us just the signposts. It gives us the warning signs, not necessarily what we will have, but what we may be predisposed to. And that’s why I think it’s important that everyone know your family history does not destine you to repeat that, but it lets you know what things you need to watch out for.

ABC NEWS LIVE: You talk about vitamins and supplements, and you say most are harmless. Some do nothing, including what they claim. Some vitamins are known to interact poorly with certain prescription meds.

You go on to say you should pay close attention to anything you ingest, including things that are purported to be good for you. Be aware that natural and organic are marketing schemes. You know what else is natural and organic? Bull bleep. And that’s where it gets into the real, the real grown woman talk.

But what should we be looking for? What should we know? I think I’m doing something good for my body, but who knows?

MALONE Yeah, I think that you should think of supplements just as that. Nothing substitutes for a healthy diet of whole foods and whole grains and non-processed foods.

So, just understand that the supplement market isn’t really regulated the same way as drugs are. So there’s really no duty to prove that it’s effective. And there’s really no duty to prove that what’s actually in it actually is in it.

So, you know, I always say buy and beware when it comes to supplements. If you’re spending, you know, $100 a month on supplements, you’re probably spending a little bit too much on that.

ABC NEWS LIVE: And you talk also about women who are 45, which I’m in that category, should start thinking about menopausal hormone therapy, something that I never thought of.

MALONE: You know, the thing about perimenopause and menopause is that it sneaks up on you way sooner than you think. And I think that a lot of women think that menopause is something that happens to you when you’re older.

But know that transition really starts in your early 40s. And for some women, even in their late 30s. And that is really why when I left my practice, I did a lot of menopausal care, and I transitioned to Alloy Women’s Health because there are so few doctors out there that really know how to treat and how to counsel women about this very important phase of their lives.

I mean, imagine we’re going to spend a third of our lives in menopause. And yet most of us walk into this blindly, and we are not really helped by our doctors, and we’re not really talking to each other either.

ABC NEWS LIVE: While this is for all women, you do talk about some of those scary medical issues that often confront Black women. Maternity mortality rate, for example. Quite often we hear the statistics. We know that they’re out there. But what should we actually do about it? What can we do?

MALONE: Prevention is a big message in this book. And that’s really what I want people to understand, is that this is not something that you should be afraid of or fearful about. There’s a lot that we can do. And so whether you enter this story and whether you’re 20-something, 30-something or 70-something, as long as you’re a grown woman, there’s something in this book for you.

And I like to say, if when I was assembling the stories for my book, you know, everyone knows that book: “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Well, my book is what to expect if you expect to live beyond 40.

ABC NEWS LIVE: Oh, that’s good. I like that. All right. Not only a D.J. and a doctor and an author. You’re all of these things. Thank you, Dr. Malone. Thank you so much for coming on the show. And we want to let our viewers know her book, “Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy” is available now wherever books are sold.

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