How to describe “hot flashes” to a non-menopausal woman?
Imagine that you’re totally comfortable…until you’re not. With little warning, you feel warm enough to take off your cardigan. A few drops of perspiration might even appear on your forehead. Once you acknowledge that you’re feeling warm, you may also perceive that your internal thermometer is. still. rising.
It’s not about getting bitchy; your Prime Directive is to find relief. Cold water to the face, a blast of cold air, a fan made from the closest piece of paper, stripped clothes, hair off the neck, a cold glass touching the cheek.
The latest news from Obstetrics & Gynecology announces that on average, hot flashes last for 10.2 years. The report concludes: “The median duration of hot flashes considerably exceeded the timeframe that is generally accepted in clinical practice.” That’s because “experts” believed the annoying little “personal summers” ran their course in 2 to 4 years.
My personal gynecologist, a woman, explained to me long ago that menopause is merely the flip side of puberty. Remember puberty? Somewhere around 13 when your boobs began to jiggle and your underwear drawer concealed a new box of sanitary pads? That process of becoming a woman takes about 10 years. Menopause continues the womanizing process that puberty began, according to my doc, and it lasts about the same amount of time.
So… why is my doctor smarter than the published journal writers? Who the heck knows? It’s not gender — some of the study’s authors are female, too. I’m just spreading the word because the puberty/menopause connection makes perfect sense. Anyone who thought you turned into a woman magically at 23 must surely be only 24.
Besides, I gots bigger issues: The Obstetrics & Gynecology study also noted that “African American women had a longer duration of hot flashes than white women in adjusted analysis.”