Susan's Blog

Friday, March 3, 2006

Pharmaceutical Conspiracy

No, it’s not what you think! I have been thinking a lot lately about a guy named Perry Menopause. Actually, perimenopause, the slow, strange, torturous leading-up to the big M. I have never been the most stable person in terms of mood, but after visiting my doc yesterday, I learned that the approach to menopause makes that even worse! A magazine I was reading mentioned how you might also start to get some extra pounds around the middle. Not to mention — gasp — facial hair. My grooming already takes longer than I will admit here. When I’m 50, then what? I can’t stand the thought of it all.

So what is the solution? Drink soy milk for the estrogen, right? Take estrogen? Wrong! Here’s what I think: if men went through a male equivalent of menopause, there would be a harmless little pill to take to stem the tide. And guess what, there actually is: it’s called viagra.

The whole viagra thing stuns me. Men spend most of their lives trying to — excuse my bluntness — discreetly deal with the thing, and suddenly, life grants them a reprieve at age 60 or so, and they long for the good ole’ days!

Does viagra even have side effects? I’m so jealous. All we women can do right now to combat our change in life is to take estrogen, which is a bit dangerous, I had thought (in terms of being linked to breast cancer). So I have to choose between my breasts and my mood swings/thickening middle/hot flashes? Not fair. I’m sure I will get comments here telling me how ignorant I am and informing me of new options. Good, let ’em rip! I want to know!

I can’t help but think that if men went through menopause — a wonderful term because the process probably does give many men pause — there’d no doubt be an easy, relatively harmless pill to take to reduce the symptoms dramatically or even reverse them!


Oh come on Susan, you’re not being fair. Statiscally, women get to live longer. Shouldn’t that count for something?

— added by Do'C on Friday, March 3, 2006 at 11:54 am

Trust me, you will survive. After the transition is over, and the monthly periods are a thing of the past — you will be as wonderful as ever. I am about 18 months from being fifty, post-menapausal and loving it. The only thing I have to take is a calcium/vitD supplement (when I remember) because I have to avoid cheese. It is GREAT!

One thing you might consider: I recently saw a newsclip about pajamas and nightgowns made with sports fabrics. The fabrics that wick moisure away from the body. Apparently women going through menapause love them.

— added by HCN on Friday, March 3, 2006 at 2:16 pm

My experience with the big pharma conspiracy was that taking Prozac in perimenopause gave me serious hotflashes. I put up with them for a year or so, then went of the Prozac because I started getting jerky myoclonus type seizures (a little more than muscle twitches, not like really scary, just a little scary). I went of the Prozac and the hot flashes disappeared. Then I realized that they had started at the same time I started the Prozac. The hot flashes stayed away for like 8 or 10 mos, and I tried a different antidepressent just to see if it might help me sleep better and give me a bit of concentration… the hot flashes came back and the muscle jerks came back. I went off that antidepressant (I only tried it for a couple of days) and the hot flashes went away and have stayed away. I expect them to come back though.

The upshot is….

some women take Prozac and it makes their hot flashes go away, when I took it it caused hot flashes. But then I’m weird. The Prozac might have contributed to the myoclonus but it was probably because I was unknowingly overdosing on sudafed (long story).

I didn’t have any side effects with Prozac other than the hot flashes, but I think other people do. It’s something to think about. (/end pharmco repping)

When I had the hot flashes I enjoyed taking a “rice bag” and putting it in the freezer and putting it on my head or neck when I was home.

— added by Camille on Friday, March 3, 2006 at 3:31 pm


Try not to worry about the future. (Worse things can happen than hot flashes and a little thickening.) Besides, if you’re perimenopausal, then I may be too and I’m just too young for that! Let nature BE as much as possible and it will probably all turn out ok in the end. Be happy.

— added by Sarai on Friday, March 3, 2006 at 8:52 pm

First time commenter here- started reading you through AutismHub. I’m mom to two kids on the Spectrum, a son with Asperger’s and a non-verbal (and unvaccinated!) daughter with autism.

Anyway, Viagra does indeed have side effects- when a certain man I know (who I won’t identify to protect him from embarrassment) used Viagra, he’d get horrible headaches- so badly that he didn’t want to have sex. “Not tonight, honey, the Viagra gave me a headache.”

He’s on Cialis now and it works better, but he says it gives him a backache. No such thing as a free lunch, I guess.

— added by Lili on Saturday, March 4, 2006 at 9:36 am

I was so glad to read that someone else had worse hot flashes due to Prozac. My dr. put me on Prozac to help with hot flashes and mood swings. It helped with the mood swings, but my hot flashes and night sweats have gotten so much worse. I don’t know what to do. I’m miserable, probably 20-30 times a day.

— added by arlene on Monday, June 4, 2007 at 3:29 am

You are absolutely right. I’m 58 and have been having hot flashes for 8 years. I have about 20 a day and it changes your whole life. You have to dress different to accommodate them, can’t be in the sun much and I love the outdoors and sunshine, can’t take the heat. I feel like I am going to burst into flames and I break out in a sweat all over. i don’t have night sweats so I guess I should be thankful for that. My Dr. says some women have them for 1 or 2 years, some have them forever and some never get them. This is a very uncomfortable way to live. If men had to go through this there would be a pill. After all these years the only thing they can come up with is a pill that will kill you. I have tried EVERYTHING on the market and nothing puts a dent in them. I have tried all the specific diets for them, that doesn’t help either. Makes me believe in divine retribution and Eve’s curse.

— added by mekll on Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Ladies, it doesn’t have to be as bad as all this. I am a family doc who left a traditional practice to open a natural hormone replacement clinic. I had already been seeing pts in regular practice and I went from seeing pts 1 day a week heading to three, so I left. It makes sense that you would feel better after you get back the exact chemical structure of what you don’t have. It is especially bad for women who have had complete hysterectomies. You assess levels by saliva (in my opinion the only way to test) and replace progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone as needed. You wouldn’t give a patient potassium until you could measure what it is doing. Same for hormones.

The 10 years before you actually go thru menopause your progesterone drops causing losts of problems: hot flashes, night sweats, heavy periods, irritability, anxiety. Theses are only a few. People who exercise usually get through this better because exercise/diet help.

Don’t decide this is your fate. And if for nothing else, look into this because we do need estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone for our bones.

— added by hormonedoc on Sunday, December 2, 2007 at 11:09 am