Women discuss 'the change'

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When she began having hot flashes recently and then trouble remembering things, Audrey Brannon thought they might be related. When she asked her doctor's office about it, "they passed on it," said Mrs. Brannon, 48.

Barbara Kantrowitz (left) laughs as co-author Pat Wingert motions while she describes the myths of menopause to a group of women at the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites. The speakers discussed their research for their book Is It Hot in Here? Or Is It Me? in the event sponsored by MCG Health Inc.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Barbara Kantrowitz (left) laughs as co-author Pat Wingert motions while she describes the myths of menopause to a group of women at the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites. The speakers discussed their research for their book Is It Hot in Here? Or Is It Me? in the event sponsored by MCG Health Inc.

She was among the more than 400 women who packed a ballroom Monday to hear from the authors of a comprehensive guide to menopause, Is It Hot in Here? Or Is It Me?, in an event sponsored by MCG Health Inc.

When Newsweek writers Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz began their journey through menopause, they found that there was no authoritative, science-based guide that satisfied them. Everyone has advice for girls approaching puberty and pregnant women, Ms. Wingert said.

"But when women get to midlife, they're really on their own," she said. Add to that the aftermath of the Women's Health Initiative findings in 2002. The study turned on its head the longheld notion that estrogen protects the heart by finding that hormone therapy increased the risk for some women of heart attack and stroke.

"There are a lot of women who became distrustful of their doctors after this," Ms. Wingert said. "They were very upset. And you saw women go and try all kinds of alternative therapies for which there was even less research, because they were afraid to follow their doctors' advice.

"They just don't trust conventional medicine any more," Ms. Kantrowitz said.

The new thinking is that taking hormones to relieve menopause symptoms should be individual to each woman.

"Not all women should be taking hormones," Ms. Kantrowitz said. "There are other things you can do. A lot of women find that lifestyle changes like wearing lighter clothing, exercising, changing your diet, just tracking whatever your hot flash triggers are, that can make a big difference."

Though many people groan when they hear that they need to exercise more, it can help menopausal women on a number of fronts, including weight gain from a slowing metabolism, Ms. Wingert said.

"You might be able to reduce your hot flashes, reduce your heart disease risk, reduce your cancer risk," she said. Exercise can also help with sleep and mood, which many women struggle with during menopause, Ms. Kantrowitz said.

It helps not to approach menopause as an illness but a transition that marks another of life's milestones, she said.

"Men don't have that moment, that sort of alarm bell going off to say, OK, you are no longer young, you have to pay attention," she said. "But women do. And it's kind of a blessing in disguise."

Studies have found that changes now will have an impact into the future, Ms. Wingert said.

"One of the bottom line conclusions was what kind of health you're in at mid-life, that's a predictor of how you're going to age," she said. "So when you realize that, you realize you have to start making these changes now."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

MANAGE HOT FLASHES


There are some simple things women suffering from hot flashes can do that might provide relief without turning to hormones or other prescriptions:


- Add some exercise. This might help not only with hot flashes but with weight control and improving mood and sleep;


- Wear lighter clothing and dress in layers;


- Keep a diary of things that seem to trigger hot flashes and work to reduce them. Spicy foods and caffeine bother some women;


- Stop smoking


- Drink more water

Source: Is It Hot in Here? Or Is It Me? by Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz

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justus4
105
Points
justus4 09/11/07 - 06:04 am
0
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"The change" article did not
Unpublished

"The change" article did not address men and their problems during late forties. It seems that eack woman is different and must decide on their own. The article provided little info and no real answers.

keepinitreal
0
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keepinitreal 09/11/07 - 07:20 am
0
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In my opinion, I feel that

In my opinion, I feel that whatever works for that moment in time as a source of comfort is what should be used. Some women can deal with HRT and some can't. I fortunately am one who can and do use it. I have no health issue's so far and I've used them for about 3yrs now. We were born with hormones and we need them to get through life in a some what normal manner comparing to when we had our own natural ones before the "change". I suffered with hot flashes drastically the day after the surgery and it's no joke with the burning sensations and espcially through out the nightime!!!. So I say to each his own and whatever works as long as it does'nt kill you will make you happier in this case.

spangenburg
0
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spangenburg 09/11/07 - 07:37 am
0
0
I have been going through

I have been going through menopause for 20 years and if I don't take my hormone pills, may family don't want to be around me. I don't want to be around myself. So thank God for homone therapy.

MyOpinion2
5
Points
MyOpinion2 09/11/07 - 08:06 am
0
0
My Great Grandmother,

My Great Grandmother, Grandmother and Mother never took HRT and made it okay. They barely even spoke about it. Everyone wants a magic pill so they can cope. I don't know if we actually know why women hot flash, but I am guessing our bodies need to for a good reason. It exercise and proper diet for me.

Equaltreatmentforall
49
Points
Equaltreatmentforall 09/11/07 - 08:09 am
0
0
Wear lighter clothing? It's

Wear lighter clothing? It's obvious the writer has never had a hot flash. lol.

babyboomerbev
0
Points
babyboomerbev 09/11/07 - 09:18 am
0
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All I have to say is, "I'm

All I have to say is, "I'm still Hot...it just comes in FLASHES now! I am enjoying my menopause!

mag5
21
Points
mag5 09/11/07 - 09:56 am
0
0
Living with a woman going

Living with a woman going through this change is difficult. Lately, my boys know when mom is having an issue and come ask me if we can leave because Lizard Woman is back! We usually go play Putt Putt for a while then come home to a bit of piece.

Rose
17
Points
Rose 09/11/07 - 10:03 am
0
0
I went off HRT and tried

I went off HRT and tried dealing with hotflashes. I had severe ones that caused me to sweat so bad that my clothes were wet. I then talked with my DR and he gave me a low dose of premarin. It works for me with less side effects than the larger dose. I asked my DR when the hotflashes will be gone without medication, and he said, "The experts say 60 yrs of age, but I have had some 80 yr old women come in here with hotflashes before."

mojoinaugusta
35
Points
mojoinaugusta 09/11/07 - 10:14 am
0
0
Removed at the request of

Removed at the request of Turtle

formermvcoach
0
Points
formermvcoach 09/11/07 - 11:03 am
0
0
RSP - you're right about the

RSP - you're right about the spelling of the last word from mag5 - mag5 - thanks though - I couldnt' stop laughing from it.

mojoinaugusta
35
Points
mojoinaugusta 09/11/07 - 01:15 pm
0
0
Removed at the request of

Removed at the request of Turtle

dixie1960
0
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dixie1960 09/11/07 - 04:41 pm
0
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what about the moody person

what about the moody person you become, i mean sometimes all i want to do is hit someone, i become so angry....what is the answer for the change in women

Illini96
0
Points
Illini96 09/11/07 - 05:21 pm
0
0
I like to think of my hot

I like to think of my hot flashes as Power Surges.

mojoinaugusta
35
Points
mojoinaugusta 09/11/07 - 07:05 pm
0
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Turtle - you're chiding me

Turtle - you're chiding me for Turtle's choice in spelling?

1957
0
Points
1957 09/12/07 - 06:37 am
0
0
Hot flashes are simply your

Hot flashes are simply your inner child playing with matches

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