Please, come on in. The tea cups and biscuits are on the table. Give me your coats. Gosh, winter is really here isn't it? I will only be a minute to start the tea. Yes, I wish this old house had a fireplace but the kerosene heater keeps things pretty cozy. There goes the whistle. Isn't steamy mint tea wonderful? Be careful, it's hot. You sisters won't believe what I heard on National Public Radio yesterday. Rolling through South Carolina on my way back from Mom's, the Graedons of People's Pharmacy were hosting Dr. Dean Edell. Dr. Edell was fielding questions as well as touting his new book, "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Healthiness." I thought he was doing quite well with his trademark, "take two aspirins and call me in the morning" style until a lady called in with a hormone question. "Is it true that during menopause??"
The good doctor commenced rather solidly, answering the specifics in a clipped clinical manner, until he veered off into this anecdotal abyss, "You know, in countries where women don't suffer nearly the level of negative symptoms as they do in the U.S., studies found that when we gave out information to those foreign women on menopause describing negative symptoms, their complaints increased." Don't choke on that cookie please. Now I have no problem with the male species making educated guesses on the female state as long as they reserve a large folder of doubt. The belief that severe menopausal symptoms are somehow psychosomatic belongs somewhere in the category with, "It has nothing to do with your hormones." Dr. Edell, with all due respect, what you need is a strong dose of power-surge.net.
power-surge.net, now in its 10th year online, is a dynamic and caring support community for women at midlife and in menopause. The "Chief cook and bottle washer," as she describes herself is Alice Lotto Stamm, a freelance writer from New York City. In the early 90's Alice found herself unprepared for all the strange new physical and emotional feelings knocking at the door, Frustrated by the limited information available, Alice sought out other women to discuss and learn more about perimenopause.
"At no other time in a woman's life does she need as much support as she does now," says Alice? The media is finally paying attention to menopause now that the largest segment of society, the first-wave baby boomers, are hovering around the '50' mark. Yet, it boggles the mind how many physicians are still lacking in knowledge of, and often insensitive to, the subject of menopause?You will invariably come across those who gloss over menopause as "another life experience." "It's natural," they say. "Snap out of it," remark others. Yes, it's natural and it often feels like hell. For those women who've been fortunate enough to sail through an easy menopause, fine. For many women, however, it's one of the most, if not THE most grueling, emotionally, spiritually and physically debilitating 5-15 years of our life. The first thing perimenopaual women need to remind themselves is that after years of demonstrating to the immediate world that they're superwomen, it's okay to shed that costume, to express the fears and confusion they're feeling. Political correctness is the last thing? to be concerned about."
If friends help friends, then this site lives up to it's reputation. It is a powerhouse of information on every subject touching menopause including hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, estrogen, progesterone, hormone replacement, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Dr. Edell might find it interesting to discover that a correlation between lowered menopausal symptoms in Asian women and their increased intake of soy has been documented. In fact, an excellent soy product that has helped many women, Revival, is based right here in North Carolina.
It is easy to see why in 2001 Forbes Magazine honored Power-Surge as one of the top sites on the Internet and Health Magazine tapped it as one of the best 25 sites for women. That is quite an achievement in crowded cyberspace.
However, even with Power-Surge's extensive library and stellar gathering of experts, I think the most valuable part of this site is the message boards. Here, under the protection of anonymity, women are benefiting each other by sharing their personal agonies and triumphs. They are empowering one another to find solutions and solutions exist. For the first time, the Internet and Alice Stamm have made it possible for women to share their knowledge and to validate the real effects of hormone storms. It is amazing how many of their stories share similar experiences. Without a doubt these message boards should be required reading for all physicians.
I agree with Alice when she says, "The time has finally come for menopause discussions to be taken from the closet into the living room for intelligent discourse. Good grief, this is the new millennium!"
Good Grief, it?s time for more tea.