As a pharmacist I hear lots of stories. I guess people trust us, so they open up. The other day a woman about my age approached the counter. She was impeccably dressed in a business suit but was obviously distressed. After a few minutes, she confided that she was having trouble with menopausal symptoms. She admitted that just talking about it made her uncomfortable. I realized her discomfort was not embarrassment about her symptoms; it was admitting that she was having a problem. She said the hot flashes, although annoying, were not her concern.
She explained that she was a busy executive who could not afford to lose her edge. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “Do you have any idea how bad it is to be giving a presentation to a room full of male executives and completely lose your train of thought?”
Then she waved at her tears and said, “And this silliness, I haven’t been this emotional since I was a teenager.” I feel like I cannot control my own body.
I knew her symptoms and complaints were not unique to her, but it made me realize that the impact of menopausal symptoms on each person’s life is unique.
Everyone jokes about hot flashes, we even talk openly about low libido, but foggy thinking, forgetfulness and the emotional roller coaster that accompany menopause can be devastating for some women. Many of my patients don’t even associate those symptoms with menopause. They think they are just going crazy – a theme which is not helped when their well meaning physician offers them anti-depressants.
I can’t profess to have cured my latest menopause victim that day, but I think she appreciated no longer feeling alone, that I took her concerns seriously, and that I could provide good informational resources She left our store armed with a list of books to read, physicians to call and a saliva test kit so she could see for herself when her hormones were out of whack.
While she may or may not try Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy, at least she’ll understand the topic, and know there are options. If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause, educate yourself and find a physician and a pharmacist to help you.