I was at a Sisterhood event at my synagogue recently, fanning myself from the heat and sweating like Paula Deen during a butter shortage.
“Is it hot in here, or is it just me?” I asked the ladies at my table.
“It is warm in here,” one of the other women said. But she had been bustling around setting up the buffet. Everyone else said the temperature was just fine.
“I think you’re having a hot flash,” one woman said.
Could it be? I’m 52 – a perfect age for flashing. But I always expected to turn the color of an Oompa Loompa – to feel feverish, flustered and more drenched than the stage at a James Brown concert.
But with the exception of my soaked forehead, none of this happened.
Still, these ladies are mostly midlifers who have been through menopause. I figured they knew more than me. So I reconciled that I was officially menopausal and this must be my own unique style: I’m a sweaty forehead flasher.
That’s what I thought … until I participated in a Google Hangout on “Enabling the Change,” sponsored by Replens vaginal moisturizer. The hangout featured five midlife bloggers and Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a reproductive health and menopause expert who has written several books for women, including A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Health and A Woman’s Guide to Menopause and Perimenopause (Yale University Press, 2005). Dr. Minkin is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University School of Medicine and the women’s health advisor to Prevention Magazine.
So how do you tell the difference between hot and flash?
With humor, one of the participants in the hangout compared a hot flash to experiencing the “Big O.” (If you have to ask, you haven’t had one.) As opposed to feeling hot from the outside in, she said a flash feels more like heat radiating from the inside out. The doctor agreed. At which point I determined that I have not yet experienced this rite of passage.
Truth be told, I have a lot of extra padding. I’m always hot. I can work up a sweat flossing.
Temperature has been a bone of contention in my marriage for 21 years. When my family lived in Michigan, even in the dead of winter, during a blizzard, I’d get hot during the night and get up to crack the window. Falling asleep again under my cozy comforter in my cold room, my husband would then wake up shivering and close the window. Shortly thereafter, I’d reawaken warm again and open the window. And this tag team temperature changing ritual repeated itself all night, every night.
The hangout made me realize that I had a false-alarm flash. I had really great time, learning from Dr. Minkin and the other women who participated. I have to say, it’s great to be a woman in the 21st Century, able to talk freely and with humor about topics that were once taboo to my mother’s generation.
Dr. Minkin was a wealth of valuable information. Did you know that smokers have worse hot flashes than nonsmokers? So do overweight women. Do you know the difference between a vaginal moisturizer and a lubricant? And speaking of feminine moisture, did you know that if you don’t “use it” you “lose it?” I learned this and so much more.
The hangout was a dynamic discussion with women at all stages of the “change.” I was the token pre-menopausal participant. I still get my monthly cycle, haven’t had night sweats or experienced dryness anywhere on my body, but my husband and daughter can attest to my serial killer mood swings, I’m tired all the time, have a heck of a time losing a quarter of a pound, my hair has thinned and my monthly cycles are so heavy and crampy that I can barely leave the house. Change is clearly around the corner.
I’m kind of disappointed about my fake-out flash, truth be told. Because at 52, having suffered from infertility for all of my childbearing years, I think it’s God’s cruel joke that, in the past few years I’ve had to sit on a towel in my car for a week out of every month… all for parts that never worked as they were intended.
Wherever you are in your life as a woman, I think you’ll get a lot from this fun and informative discussion. There was a lot of personal sharing, a lot of laughing, and a tremendous amount of useful information from one of the country’s leading menopause experts.
This is a conversation worth a listen! I learned so much and hope you do too!
The opinions expressed in this video are those of the participants and are not those of Church & Dwight Co., Inc.
Replens is the clinically tested, doctor recommended brand of long-lasting vaginal moisturizer. As with dry skin that you experience on your face and hands, regular moisturizing treatment with Replens Long-Lasting vaginal moisturizer may be necessary to prevent dryness from recurring. Replens Long-Lasting vaginal moisturizer is different from most other lotions or lubricants because it contains a patented bio-adhesive ingredient that allows it to attach to dry vaginal cells and deliver continuous moisture for up to three days. Click here to learn more.
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