Not a lot of women like to talk about menopause. Scratch that. They don’t like to bring it up. Once the topic is introduced, they can’t stop talking about it! I’m trying to see it as a positive thing, like Raj in the Big Bang Theory did when he described it as, “nature’s birth control”!
Having had several girlfriends and a Mom travel through this life stage ahead of me, I thought I was well prepared for what was to come. And then the hot flashes started. Some days I’d get 15 in a row. They’d leave me slick with sweat and choking back murderous thoughts toward no one in particular. They were much worse than I ever imagined.
A friend heard that a product called Promensil was helping some women. It’s an all-natural, plant-based pill you pop once a day. The main ingredient is red clover. I ran for the drug store like it was the last creamsicle on earth and bought some. These fairly pricey little pills – about a buck each – worked in about two-and-a-half-days to shut off the furnace. I was thrilled. I even wrote a fan letter to the company!
In the “what’s new with you” section of my doctor’s appointment this week, I mentioned how well this medication was working. My physician’s face went ashen and she started typing madly and skimming through pages of text. “A-HA!” she said, and showed me what she found. Red clover is a plant-based version of estrogen which means the drug is basically hormone replacement therapy which means I have to stop taking it. This medication is an over-the-counter option touted as an alternative to HRT but even though it’s plant based, it’s still just estrogen. HRT has been shown to raise the risk of all sorts of women’s cancers as well as cardiovascular problems and other unwelcome things. This explains why it works so well but it’s also a version of something that’s no longer recommended.
So it’s back to the drawing board. The hot flashes will return, at least temporarily, while we try to find something else to take the edge off. I wear layers, I keep my sound booth at a meat-locker temperature and do everything I possibly can to prevent the heat from burning me up but when it comes from the inside, there isn’t much you can really do on the outside. This phase can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years. Wish me luck – and stay away from the Promensil.