Posts made in November, 2009

Wednesday Bubble: one pill makes you…

Posted by on Nov 18, 2009 in sexual desire, sexual health | 0 comments


Have you heard about Flibanserin? Pharma Giant Boehringer-Ingelheim is entering the bedroom with an antidepressant (with a new moniker) that may change the sex lives of women everywhere!

Sorry for the sarcasm but this Bubble has “Viagra for women” written all over it. In fact, the U.S. market for sexual desire is estimated to exceed a whopping $3.5 billion a year. No wonder other companies are so eager to market testosterone to women.

So what’s the story behind Flibanserin?

Flibanserin is an antidepressant compound that is is believed to affect brain receptors and neurotransmittors that play a role in sexual response. Data presented at the European Society for Sexual Medicine conference show that in clinical studies,  flibanserin significantly improved desire, sexual experience and sexual functioning in women when taken for at least six months. The majority of the women participating  were pre-menopausal and had been diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), a condition that is characterized by a decline in sexual desire, a loss of intimacy, and distress.

Declines in sexual desire at any point in life are terrible and not to be taken lightly. Should flibanserin becomes available in the United States, it is likely to be prescribed along with sex therapy, a move, that the company disagrees with. In fact, the company is quoted in Bloomberg News as saying that it hopes that the drug can be prescribed by itself and not as a complement to therapy. Importantly, this is where one has to start questioning the value of this drug and how it will ultimately be marketed should it ever be approved by the US Food & Drug Administration.

Many behavioral and mental health specialists will argue that “a pill has no place in the bedroom” and that sexual dysfunction is linked to factors other than physical ones, factors that need to be thoroughly explored and addressed. This holds true in particular, for  menopausal women. Indeed, evidence does show that t sexual desire in women can be affected not only by physiology but also, may vary depending on personal attitudes, experiences and context.

I don’t take issue with drugs when they are prescribed and used responsibly. But the answer to everything that ails is not a pill. With regards to sexual desire, this could not be truer.

Sex is big business. This has been borne out by the incredibly success of drugs geared towards erectile dysfunction. Companies have been racing to find an equivalent for women. Looks like Boehringher might have just gotten the gold ring.

What do you think?

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Viva la sweats!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2009 in hot flash, nightsweats | 0 comments


Night sweats, that is! I never thought that I’d write that but it does seem that having night sweats may actually save your life someday.

Reporting in the September/October issue of Menopause, Norwegian researchers followed up on over 800 women in menopause who had previously provided information about lifestyle and menopausal history (including vasomotor symptoms). Of the 73% of women who reported having hot flashes, 39% also reported night sweats. Women reporting both were shown to have a 28% lower risk of dying from any causes over the next 20 years. A reduced risk of dying remained even after the researchers made adjustments for past or current hormone use, body mass index, physical exercise and smoking.

Will these data make me stop the herbs and start sweating away my nights? No. But it’s good to know that vasomotor symptoms, such as night sweats, may have a role beyond “nuisance,” “disruptive,” “mood changing” and sheet-ruining!

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Hip fracture, early menopause and age

Posted by on Nov 13, 2009 in bone health | 0 comments


Good news for you early menopausers: Australian researchers say that early menopause does not increase the risk for hip fractures due to weaker/lower bone density.

Bone density or bone mineral density (BMD) refers to the individual strength of bones, generally in relation to their calcium content. BMD is known to decline rapidly during the time period that immediately follows menopause, leading to osteoporosis and hip fractures. Because there have been lingering questions regarding how early menopause influences fracture risk, researchers decided to undertake a study that would sort out the relationship of age, menopausal status and age at menopause to hip fractures. Over 561,000 pre-, peri- and postmenopausal women who had never used hormone replacement therapy participated in the study (which lasted, on average, 6 years).

They found that hip fractures were about twice as likely in postmenopausal versus premenopausal women. But more importantly, when age was factored in, this relationship dropped out. In fact, rates of hip factors was as much as seven times higher among women who were between the ages of 70 and 74 compared to women between the ages of 50 and 54. What’s more, age at menopause had little effect on fracture risk.

What you can do now…..

  • Calcium – OHC is a formulation that has recently been shown to impart greater protection against bone loss than calcium carbonate.
  • IsoflavonesHere, type/source may be important.
  • Exercise – Including weight bearing, resistance and strength-training.

Meanwhile, if you are in early menopause, here’s one risk you don’t have to worry about. It’s no reason not to take preventive measures to prevent bone loss in older age. But it is a reason to breathe a bit easier.

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Wednesday Bubble: Bifocals, babies, hot steamy flashes of perspective. It is enough.

Posted by on Nov 11, 2009 in Inspiration | 1 comment

dreamstime_2826943A year ago I was fortunate to meet Author and Woman Extraordinaire Patti Digh. We met at an intimate reading of her book, Life is a Verb, in Washington DC. Since that time, I’ve repeatedly asked Patti to grace Flashfree with her words and her presence. She has graciously sent me the following guest post. Thank you Patti…

I got bifocals and gave birth in the same year. Now, six years later, the first hot flash has hit. I celebrated my fiftieth birthday this past August, telling everyone I knew that I was reaching that magic age, shamelessly announcing this momentous occasion to everyone I met. I stood on the beach at sunrise on that day–August 16–with my oldest daughter (who turned 17 the very day I turned 50) and wondered to myself if that would be the last birthday I would ever see.

If it was, it was enough.

It is enough.

None of us knows whether tomorrow will come. It’s a lesson I’ve learned many times over in my life—you have too, I’m sure—and it’s a lesson I’ve pondered daily for the past five years—how to live like you’re dying (because we all are), extracting every ounce of joy and pain from each day.

Many people disparage aging, joke about it, dread it. With a father who died at 53, I see every day as a gift he never had. He was dead far too young; perhaps my old age will be in homage to the one he never got.

For a long time in my life, I have felt I would reach my most powerful at 50. And having reached that point in the road, I believe that is true. Not my most fit, certainly, or my most rested, but my most powerful. There is a power in the transformation that starts taking place when power surges heat us up from the inside out. There is a power in the knowledge that we have nothing to prove, not one damn thing. There is power in knowing that we have every single thing we need, that we need nothing else, that we are fully human and gorgeously odd and contradictory and beautiful just as we are. That we are hot in the very deepest, richest, metaphorically resonant use of that term.
That we are not broken. That we don’t need to be fixed.

This decade for me is going to be one of simplification. Just as I peel off clothing to cool off several times a day, my infernal engine is fueling me to peel off things and toxic people and projects I dread, things I said “yes” to and immediately regretted.

Two months after turning 50, I have had a health scare, a big one, an “isn’t it ironic that this should happen to the woman who writes about what she would be doing if she only had 37 days to live?” one. My first two thoughts? 1) I have to clean out my house because I can’t leave this mess for others to see; and 2) My girls. I can’t leave my girls and my love.

That was good information for me.

I am calling in the dumpster—for files and old magazines and clothes whose single digit size I’ll never see again—and for fears and hesitations and waiting for someone to show me the way. I am calling in the dumpster for playing it safe and being practical and for bemoaning the fact that I have lines on my face and sweat stains on my best silk blouse.  I am calling in the dumpster for people who are toxic to me with their whining and complaining and gossiping and blaming. I am calling in the dumpster for regret.

But before that, I’m going sky-diving with my 17-year-old simply because she has always wanted to. And baking cookies with my 6-year-old because she loves feeling the dough with her dirty, dimpled little hands and sneaking bites of it, uncooked and raw, like life.

It is enough. I am enough. I am bifocaled and hot and lumpy and messy and spectacular. And so are you.

About Patti Digh

Patti Digh is the author of Life is a Verb and has written two business books on global leadership and diversity, one named a Fortune magazine “best business book for 2000.” Jer comments have appeared on PBS, and in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, the New York Times, USAToday, the Washington Post, and London Financial Times, among other national and international publications. She speaks around the world on diversity, global business, and living intentionally.

Patti is also co-founder of The Circle Project, a consulting and training firm that partners with organizations and the people in them to help them work more effectively and authentically together across difference.

She lives in Ashville, NC with her husband, two daughters and various animals.

Learn more about Patti, her work and her blog, 37 Days. You can also find Patti on Twitter and Facebook.

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Oh, Baby – a New Glam-Parent is Born! A guest post by Julia Beck

Posted by on Nov 6, 2009 in Boomer | 1 comment

Head shot option 1

Boomer grandparents are game changers. This is not news. Google the topic and you’ll immediately find a long list of articles addressing the boomer grandparent experience. The Wall Street Journal chronicled the on-going issues of stereotypes and ageist profiling in names (hint: opt for Glammom over Grandmom)  My favorite resource was found  on www.grandboomers .com  – a long, comprehensive list of what a boomer grandparent could be called including MiMa and Opa)  to avoid the  age-old  (and thus far too conformist, restrictive, cliché title of grandma).

According to The Grandparent Economy report:  Grandparents account for $52 Billion dollars in spending  on their grandkids per year. Eight years ago, I instructed my team here at Forty Weeks to include the “expectant grandparent” into our key target markets – taking great care to help our clients understand the demography and psychography of this not so fertile but certainly powerful segment of the juvenile market.

Flash forward to 2009 – grandparents have an uncanny knowledge of strollers (just ask them – Bugaboo v. tuetonia) as well as clothing, nursery décor , family vacation destinations and even strategies for quality time with toddler. What is still, sadly and overwhelmingly missing is an understanding of how to best support the new mother.

Perhaps this is a consequence of boomers seeing the entire new baby experience thru the lens of Grandparent – and foregoing the generation in-between.  But really, it is the parent – the child of the boomer who needs the most support.  Especially in the early, hard to navigate, bleary eyed days with new baby.  In a piece of stunning research about to be released by the BBIC we see how profound an effect grandmothers (mothers and mothers-in-law) have on nursing initiation rates, success and length of time spent nursing. The anecdotes are painfully consistent in their portrayal of mother-in-law as deal breaker (embarrassed by breastfeeding in public for example, dismissive of the benefits of breastfeeding is another – “we did not do that, and you turned out just fine” and worse).

The data supports that a little more love and care for the new mother and not just the baby (or bling) is in order.  And of course, a little more empathy and understanding is part and parcel with that call to action. Further, allowing and even supporting a new mother’s intuition is a big part of that plan. Not at the expense of the Glamparent experience but rather to enhance it. And with that comes an even richer, deeper and more connected bond between the boomer- grandparent and grandbaby.


About Julia Beck…

Julia Beck, founder of Forty Weeks, knows the pregnancy and motherhood lifestyle. A prominent marketing strategist based in Washington, DC and New York City, she noticed and experienced the huge number of unmet needs of pregnant women while pregnant with her first child in 1998. Recognizing a glaringly overlooked market, Forty Weeks was created to develop products and services with a clear focus on the woman and her experience throughout (and beyond) her forty-week journey. Julia regularly shares her perspective, trend-watching and insights with an array of media outlets including the New York Times, Good Morning America, Wall Street Journal, In Style and more.

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