Posts made in September, 2010

Random Roundup: news and tidbits picked just for you

Posted by on Sep 6, 2010 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

[Credit: Special thanks to artist Darryl Willison of Please visit his site and support his work.]

I’ve decided to lose the monthly or quarterly Roundups and post them more sporadically. Moreover, since September marks the beginning of Fall, it seems like a great time to highlight some of the most interesting posts and news since July.  Be sure to check them out and feel free, always, to send me a note telling me what you’d like to see included in the next Roundup.

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Women, O, pause! The book

Posted by on Sep 3, 2010 in menopause | 4 comments

If you’ve ever visited the ‘About’ section, you know that a key reason I started this blog was that I took a look around the interwebz to see what was being written about menopause and it gave me “pause.”  I felt that there were voices that were being ignored or talked down to. And, I felt that the information was too limiting, too medical, not broad enough.

Hence, when I was approached by the publicity folks at Planned Television Arts/Ruder Finn to examine a new self-help book on menopause: Womenopause: Stop Pausing and Start Living (Authors Lovera Wolf Miller MD and David C Miller, MD), I thought, “sure, why not?”

Womenopause has an interesting approach in that it encourages women to be proactive rather than reactive to menopause.  This philosophy is one that I’ve long ascribed to because I do believe that prevention is often the best medicine. In fact, when younger women tell me that this blog is not for them, I usually tell them that there are steps that they can take now to prevent some of the challenges that accompany the transition, such as weight gain/redistribution, bone loss and heart disease.

Moreover, I love that the authors acknowledge menopause as a milestone, not for its finality but for the fact that is simply another stage that “transforms women within the context of an already convoluted life and within the complexities of a marriage and/or dynamic relationships.” I love that Womenopause offers thorough, readable information about the processes that are going on in a woman’s body to cause various symptoms of menopause, an area that I’ve been hesitant to approach simply because I feel that there is a lot of good information out there, if you know where to look (for example, check out the Flashfree Blogroll on the home page).  And I applaud the authors for their inclusion of real-life cases.

However, this is where my love affair with the book ends and the questions begin.

The authors of Womenopause ask their readers to chart their baseline symptoms and basic health and then record their course through four weeks using something they have named the ‘ωScore.’ Theoretically the goal is to help identify health problems, for example, the severity and emotionality of hot flashes, sexual or skin issues or sleep problems to raise awareness and potentially, spark conversations with their healthcare practitioners. Each of these areas is thoroughly discussed in the book in both a serious and thoughtful fashion, accompanied by an attempt at a lighter side. Although I think that records can help identify issues and promote helpful dialogue, I know that personally, I don’t want to take a quiz, keep a journal or score a “hot dread.” Huh? Hot dread is defined as emotional components – aura and anxiety, that may accompany a hot flash. The overall tone of the Womenopause interactive program — “fit, feminine and fabulous in four weeks,” feels a wee bit touchy feelie, “woo woo” to me, and frankly, when I am night sweating or flashing, I’m really not feeling my fabulosity or my femininity.  As I’ve mentioned time and again, this ain’t no tropical vacation and I’m not really interested in ‘Menopauseland,’ the theme park.

When it comes to physical information, Womenopause is truly, a great guide. However, buyer beware! The majority of solutions to the common problems of menopause are medically/pharmaceutically-based and in fact,  the authors repeatedly dismiss alternative and complementary therapies as unproven and no better than placebo. As someone who is well-versed in reading and analyzing data, and who has devoted the past two years to examining and sharing the evidence behind alternatives to hormone replacement, I take great issue with this approach and it makes me pause; by not taking adequate time to thoroughly explore studies on alternative approaches, the authors have truly done a huge disservice to women who are hungry for information and need to be empowered to make the right decision for themselves, even if that decision does not involve HRT. Moreover, for a book that devotes more than on thorough discussion to sexual desire and other menopausal issues, I am very surprised not to find Christiane Northrup, MD, listed in the Recommended Books section.

Overall, I would encourage readers of this blog to take a look at Womenopause, with the full understanding that this may not be your cup of tea. It certainly is not mine. However, if you are looking for concise medical information about the changes that are occurring in your body during the transition, and a wee smattering of helpful advice, Womenopause is a great resource. Just be mindful that fab, fabulous and fit in four weeks sounds like a dream, not a reality.

Tell me, what are your favourite resources or reads?

[Disclosure: I was not paid to review Womanopause. However, the publicity folks did send me a free copy of the book.]

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Wednesday Bubble: The “De’s” have it

Posted by on Sep 1, 2010 in new approaches | 0 comments

This week’s Bubble is truly straight out of bubble-land. Flashing? There’s a drink for that. Not on your game? There’s a drink for that. Finding that you can’t handle the demands of daily life? There’s a drink for that too?


Yes ladies, you can ‘deFlash,” deBug” and “deCompress” with EYL – Enrich your Life drinks.

Look, I’m a huge supporter of alternative therapies, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal remedies, etc, so long as they are thoroughly studied. But time and again, we see enriched nutritional products that are long on promises and short on delivery. And while functional foods — foods that deliver more than nutritional benefits — are certainly the wave of the future, I do believe that these foods need regulation and evidence behind them. Japan may be one of the few countries that actually regulates functional foods.

So before you spend your hard-earned dollars on drinking your flashes away, why not do some research and see which alternatives actually pack a powerful punch beyond their marketing claims?

The “De’s?” How about “deceptive?”

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