The M word: Seminar aims to break down barriers for women and menopause


If you go

What: Pause.itive seminar

Where: Artseen Gallery, 2215 NW Second Ave., Miami

When: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28

Cost: $35

Register online at www.pause-itive.com or onsite the day of the event. Space is limited to 200 guests.

For information, call 800-595-1674 or email pause.itive.seminar@yahoo.com


When Maria Flores began feeling the symptoms of menopause, she had to “dig for information” about the topic.

The 49-year-old president of Double Edged Marketing found that information about menopause – a normal change in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle stops – was hard to understand, and many times, “not an honest answer.”

“There is information, but it is not readily available,” she said. “I find that women don’t like talking about it, they’re not talking about it, and they’re hesitant when the subject comes up.”

Flores and former coworker, friend and host of The Book Report radio show Elaine Pasekoff, put their heads together and decided to create Pause.itive – a daylong seminar for women over the age of 35 – where physicians and experts will discuss topics dealing with menopause.

“There is such a stigma with the word,” said Pasekoff, 59. “We want to open a discussion to share information, and certainly different physicians will have different viewpoints. With information, you’re going to be able to make your own choices.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a woman has reached menopause when her menstrual cycle stops for 12 consecutive months. During this time, a woman’s body slowly produces less estrogen and progesterone.

Although menopause often happens between 45 and 55, perimenopause – the period in which a woman’s body begins its natural transition to infertility – can begin as early as 35. Symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, problems sleeping, stress, vaginal changes and thinning of bones.

Pause.itive, which will be held Sept. 28 at the Artseen Gallery, 2215 NW Second Ave., Miami, will cover several topics: fitness, self-esteem, nutrition, hormones, hypnosis, fashion and sex. There will also be a theater performance, an art exhibit, music and food.

“We wanted to make it in a setting that was enjoyable, and that didn’t feel like you were being lectured,” Flores said. “Many of these seminars are offered in clinics or hospitals, and we wanted to take it away from that. We wanted to offer another experience. We want women to feel relaxed.”

Flores said many women feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about menopause. She and Pasekoff hope the seminar will help bring awareness to the topic and alleviate the misconception and stigma that comes with the word.

“This is a transition that all healthy women go through, and we want to share the information to make that transition more comfortable,” Pasekoff said.

Flores adds: “Us women don’t bring it up with our doctor, we certainly don’t bring it up with our spouse, and our mothers don’t talk to us about it so by the time we hit 48 or 49 or 50, we think this is brand new and wonder what is going on with our bodies. What we hope to do is make an awareness campaign, so that as early as 35, you know what to expect. And when you do get there, as I am right now, you can feel comfortable.”

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