Although Oprah's wake-up call came from her thyroid, the warning signs can be different for every woman. "For you it might be heart palpitations. It might be night sweats. It might be all the other issues that a lot of women go through," Oprah says.
"Absolutely," Dr. Northrup says. "I call it 'break down to break through.' You come to a crossroads. One road says die; the other says live. You've got to choose the live route."
Dr. Northrup says your health depends on what's going on with your mind, body and soul, and your symptoms are actually your soul's way of bringing deeper issues to your attention. "You're in labor with yourself because everything that no longer serves your highest purpose and your optimal health starts to go away and your body gives you signals'—Hey, you've been putting too much stuff under the carpet emotionally, nutritionally, not exercising ... putting everyone else first. The kids, the husband, the job, whatever,'" Dr. Northrup says. "And your soul is saying, 'What about me? What about me?' And your body will start getting symptoms to hit you over the head with till you wake up."
Oprah says she came to an important realization about menopause after rereading The Wisdom of Menopause. "There's a passage in the Bible that says, 'When I was a child I spoke as a child, and when I became a man or when I became older, I put away childish things,'" Oprah says. "This is about putting away childish things."
"Yes, it is, and you're becoming who you really are. And the really nice news is this: When you hit about 35 to 40, you have an ego structure strong enough to really express who you are. So it's like all the stuff you knew when you were 12 or 13 or 11 comes back, but now you have the wherewithal and the skill set inform to manifest that in your life," Dr. Northrup says. "So people go and they ride horses. They start new businesses. They can't wait to redo their houses. Women go wild for color. They can't stand the off-white anymore. They're reinventing themselves. They're figuring out who they are and they can't stand it another moment to live the way they've been living."