Posts made in November, 2009

Wednesday Bubble: Equol-ity

Posted by on Nov 4, 2009 in herbal medicine, hot flash | 0 comments


Not bursting this one. At least not yet….

Last January, I shared some news on a key component in a type of isoflavone known as Daidzein. The component, S-equol, is produced by some people by the bacteria that lives in their intestines after eating soybeans and soy foods. Japanese women who produce S-equol naturally have been shown to have milder menopausal symptoms.

No wonder I was excited to see more information about S-equol coming out of September’s North American Menopause Society meeting. This time, researchers asked 320 postmenopausal women complaining of at least one hot flash a day to take a 10 mg equol supplement or a placebo tablet for 12 weeks. Menopausal symptoms were evaluated before and after taking the equol supplement, both by questionnaire and by a visual scale.

The findings are encouraging, as it appears that taking a daily equol supplement significantly reduced the frequency of hot flashes by as much as 58%. Women taking the supplement also reported declines in neck and shoulder stiffness. What’s more, no side effects were reported. However, while menopausal symptoms scores improved overall, S-equol did not appear to affect night sweats, mood issues or quality of life.

Obviously, S-equol is not yet available for mass consumption and only time will tell if these benefits can be duplicated in larger groups of women. Still, it’s nice to know that plant-based compounds are slowly proving their worth in the quest to find non-pharmaceuticals to alleviate menopausal symptoms. I’m all for equality when it comes to solutions for menopause and equol has my vote so far!

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Introducing….it’s raining men! A male perspective on menopause

Posted by on Nov 2, 2009 in men | 2 comments


For over a year now, Flashfree has been ignoring a key player in the midlife-menopause shuffle: men. So I decided to add some male voices into the mix to lend their perspective and educate us about their experiences with our experiences. My hope: to start an evolving dialogue and deepen understanding, provide humor and encourage better communication.

Our first contributor is a dear friend, who has asked to remain anonymous because of the deeply personal nature of his topic: sexual desire. I hope you enjoy it, comment and share.

When I was asked to provide another voice on this subject I hesitated.  It’s not that I don’t have first hand experience as my wife has been in the perimenopausal stage for the last few years, and I’m usually not shy with my opinions, but this request made me pause.  Did I really want to weigh in with my thoughts?  Was this a “do I look fat in this” type of question with no good answers? Was there any upside to being honest?  Despite my reservations, I decided that this was as good a time as any, so here goes.

It’s been very hard to watch what has happened to the woman I love.  I’m not just talking about the constant temperature changes, or the night sweats, or the mood swings, or the changes in odor (see, I do pay attention) that so clearly affect her.  Instead, the largest change I’ve noticed is the loss of libido.

Now I know many of you are thinking “typical man, all he cares about is sex” when you read that last sentence, but let me defend myself.  While our frequency of intercourse has significantly decreased, what I miss more is her desire.  The feelings we have shared for each over these 16 years haven’t changed, but our means of expressing them have.  I miss what we had, and hope that one day soon we can have it again.

There, I said it.  And I suspect many of my peers are (or will soon be) experiencing similar feelings.  So if I have any message for the readers, it’s just that while menopause primarily affects you, it also affects the others in your life.  So the next time we say something insensitive, maybe you can occasionally cut us a break?

Flashfree is looking for contributors/male voices:

Want to add your perspective? Do you remember you mother or aunt going through ‘the change?’ Is your sister/friend/lover/wife/ex-wife/co-worker driving you nuts with her flip/flopping about? Got something you just want to say? Write to me at

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