In her book about menopause called The Sexy Years, Suzanne Somers recommends a magic elixir of so-called natural biodentical hormones to relieve the symptoms. She describes the Seven Dwarfs of Menopause as Itchy, Bitchy, Sweaty, Sleeping, Bloated, Forgetful, and All-Dried-Up. This part is true. And taking hormones does relieve the symptoms. But doctors are reluctant to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for a prolonged length of time because of concerns about the unknown long-term potential health consequences. The fact remains that HRT makes you feel once again like a normal human being and most women experiencing menopausal symptoms would prefer to mainline it indefinitely.
There is a nasty secret about menopause that, despite all the information available today no one bothers to tell you. Hot flashes are not always a temporary problem. When I was going through menopause my hot flashes were cataclysmic. I clearly remember sitting at my desk at work with rivers of sweat rolling through the hair on my scalp, dripping down my forehead and neck and joining the Niagara Falls on my neck and chest. I could feel similar pools of sweat running down the front of my legs inside my pantyhose and down the drainage ditch that was my spine. I suppose I should be happy that now, instead of having about six of these episodes an hour, twenty years later I’m only having six a day.
The inventor of ceiling fans has been the silent saviour of every woman who has gone through this and is particularly appreciated when you visit someone’s home for an overnight stay who does not have a ceiling fan in the guest room. At least most of my friends have now dispensed with duvets so we’re better able to cope with the unwanted temperature spikes. Our bodies are fickle instruments. When riding in the car with friends it often happens that one of us will have a power surge and everyone races to her rescue with adjustments to the air conditioning system and fanning her face. In fact, I once ordered two dozen paper Japanese fans from Amazon so I could stash them all over the place including the console of my car for those times my temperature soared. Passed them out to all my friends too. When I attended the funeral of my mother-in-law, I heard the church ladies who were serving sandwiches mentioning that they still have hot flashes and some of them were in their eighties. That was not a comforting prospect.
I suspect our entire Boomer generation of women is the secret cause of global warming. There’s a scary amount of thermal off-gassing from menopausal Baby Boomer women happening around the world right now and it could be the real reason the polar ice caps are melting. Too bad there wasn’t a way of harnessing all that wasted thermal energy into a little power cell that could charge some of our household gadgets. Or in the case of some of us, perhaps power our entire home. But it would take a motivated, menopausal female scientist to accomplish this. Men just don’t get it. If they did, we’d have a solution by now.