“I got cranky at work, embarrassed about being in a meeting sweating and turning deep red. Other than abandoning turtleneck sweaters for the next ten years, what was I going to do? It wasn’t just at work, but my nights were filled with rude awakenings, bathed in sweat. I tried changing my diet and gave up spicy foods and consumed less alcohol, but nothing made much difference. This was all some time ago. Maybe there’s more that can be done now. Maybe not.”
In 2004 I closed my creative agency and left the American business world for two years. My husband and I moved to Girona, in Catalonia, which was where I celebrated my 50TH birthday. It’s a lot easier suffering these varied and strange symptoms when you’re not trying to run a business. But how long would they last and who could I discuss this with? My mother said, “I had no symptoms”. My two older sisters didn’t have much to say either. I read all I could, and asked my doctors. I took herbs and vitamins. What really amazes me is how long these symptoms can last – for me it was at least 10 years, from 45 to 55, and even now, 10 years since, I still have some minor symptoms.
I am happy that more people, especially women, are talking about menopause. I applaud Grace of no Age, with a clear focus on this subject and related topics. What really helped me was finding a gynecologist who specializes in female health beyond obstetrics. My OBGYNs were terribly unhelpful – they were either unaware or unsympathetic. They made me feel bad about myself – until I finally went to a renowned gynecologist who specializes in this field – and that was my turning point. I’ve referred her to many friends. Dr Ricki Pollycove
“Dr. Ricki” prescribed vitamins and minerals including DHEA and a medication called Osphena I’m lucky I live in San Francisco, California where this doctor is based, but I know that other medical professionals can learn from her practice and she has excellent resources on her website. That’s because I feel strongly that old-school, standard treatments for women’s bodily changes are for the birds.
I know that experiencing less stress helps me feel better overall. To help keep pain and stress at bay, I suggest seeking out new ways to channel your energy and creativity, that is, if you haven’t found outlets you enjoy yet. For me, making art all the time (that includes Covid-friendly Zoom drawing sessions with models!) plus maintaining a regular exercise program (I love Pure Barre) helps keep me feel good consistently.
Susan R. Kirshenbaum