Thursday, 14 March 2019

To Flash or To Flush - That Was The Question

A sweary rant from one really HOT lady. I’m not now FYI. Cos HRT. But.

Sweats. A History. Actually, a Her-story.


Ahem. At the height of my internal volcanic disruptions, every time I flushed (or flashed some prefer) I wanted to tweet it. But you know, 6 times in two hours would lose me followers. And I’d just reached 666.

I tried reading some of the truly helpful information on how to deal with these random and ridiculous spikes in body temperature when mine really started to come on with a vengeance, with the added icing of nausea.

Articles cheerily titled, “The Mystery of Women’s Thermal Chaos.” Whoopee. I was a character in a sci-fi novel. I just didn’t know it. One menopausal-advice-writer-person recommended, ‘Undress! Open a window!’

Undress! Good one! Classic! I could see the future for us middle-aged, involuntary sauna seekers. We’d have our own back corner in the café. It’d be opposite the almond-friand spreading, fluffy slurping midget corner. Only we’d be in the nuds, under a low ceiling fan, sitting at a circular table (nonchalantly shelving our pale tits) sipping our free ice cold soy milk with goji sprinkles. Grey Lady rules. Fist pump, girls. We’d be sat there, staring straight ahead, hoping like hell our left-to-grow-out (because dye chemicals cause heat and au naturale is so so 2020) silver-streaked hair was making us invisible. We’d be sucking our cold drinks through bamboo straws because milk on your moustache just isn’t that sexy. While nibbling raw flax seed, apricot, soy powder and cacao nib slice. Sugar-free. Joy-free. But sweetened with fresh organic dates. Those ugly, expensive little fuckers.

Yerp, we’d be sat in the naughty corner, incorporating some self-help-hot-flush-reducing measures. Little clothing. A plant oestrogen rich morning tea. When what we really wanted was a full dairy cappuccino, with a jumbo mixed berry and white chocolate muffin, heated and served with a generous pat of salty butter. As well as a new pale pink cashmere polo neck jumper and some comfy elastic waist slacks. Black. Plus a bloody good laugh.

Yet, we’d be sat there at that circular table, sucking our milk and skiting about who woke up the most last night. Pick me! Yes me! Oooh, at least ten times! It was magic. It was …

 It’s all right I’m Jumping-Jane-Flash, I’m a gas gas gas.

Are you going through menopause? No, I'm just on fire." Said famous kiwi novelist, Emily Perkins. “Waves burning arm tantalisingly close to your rayon coat.”

Me too. I was a woman on fire alright. Mostly at night, in bed, while the H snored and farted happily beside me, I followed a random pattern in the dark …

I threw back the covers, panting and welcoming the cool night air. I dabbed the damp creep, circumnavigating my cleavage with my silk nightie. I panted. Even though I did not realise I was panting. I looked out the window. Venus winked at me. I winked back. I saw a shooting star! Then another. Then snap. I was shivering. I pulled the duvet swiftly back around my ears and set to restabilising my body temp. I took a slurp of water from the glass on my nightstand that I share with my cat. Parched. I worried about how much vital moisture I’d lost, alone in the dark over the last four years. My insides a desert. A fossilised forest. A natural history museum exhibit. 

I thought of lovely nurse, Sharon. ‘You can always go on HRT,’ she’d advised, months earlier. While listening to me whinge about my Olympic-level hot flashes, not the cervical smear she was undertaking at the time.

A new and very hot day dawned. In the middle of winter. I was sat at my desk. Oh great heavens, here it comes. I’ll type through it. Present tense. First-hand research. Go!

I’m having one now. I’m flushing. Bless. Joy. It’s a big one. (Flings open door.) I could plug myself into the grid. Reduce my heating bill. I could recharge every tight arse hippy in the country’s 12-volt battery pack. God almighty, right now I’m so radioactive I could light up the sky tower. Even power the lift. 27 floors. My pits are dripping. So are my underboobs and that crease under my bum. I’m hot alright. I am so sexy to myself I could dance like there’s nobody watching. Not. (Heat wanes. Nausea lifts.) I feel like stepping out of this skin and leaving it somewhere. Slithering away. A hissing snake. Another person can have a turn. In my nuclear reactor suit. I’m done.

It was 10.23am and I reckon I’d had 23 of the little bastards since I woke at 5.47am. Some spiked by hot drinks. One by what my 100-year-old gran gigglingly refers to as sport. That was attractive!!!!!!!!

The results of research circulated around 2001 warned of the harmful side effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy, i.e. the increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Governing bodies recommended medical professionals halt prescribing HRT immediately. The number of women taking HRT fell by 66%. The UK's Women's Health Concern (the patient arm of the British Menopause Society) concludes that the research groups in the US in the 1990s were women in their mid-sixties, often overweight. Therefore those women for which HRT was considered suitable - fit women around 45 – 55 were not represented. “ … almost  a generation of women was denied the opportunity of improved quality of life during their menopausal years.”

The current buzz is that HRT does not increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, and can reduce your risk of osteoporosis when prescribed correctly. Moreover, the many benefits of HRT (no. 1 for me!) alleviates hot flushes & insomnia, far outweigh the possible side effects.
I know the early ‘facts’ still linger. I’ve had more than one girlfriend repeat them to me. I've thought them myself. That's probably partly why I panted in silence for so long. I'm not a medical professional. And I know general medicine is not every women's cup-of-jo. But if you’re hot and bothered about it, find a GP well-versed on the subject of women’s health to discuss your options.

I started HRT six months ago. My hot flushes stopped within three days. Three days! I do not lie. Not to mention all the other bonuses. The HRT Diaries … coming soon … or sometime in the cool future.  

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