A Menopause Survival Kit
So begins Newsweek writers Barbara Kantrowitz and Pat Wingert's new book Is It Hot in Here? Or Is It Me? (Workman Publishing Company, 2006).
The authors tell the story of a 40-something friend who made a stop at a convenience store to pick up a drink for her teenage son. When she went to the counter to pay, she became dizzy, nauseated and felt an intense heat all over her body. She sat down in the car, hoping the sensation would pass, but it didn't. Panicked, she told her son to call 911. She thought she was having a heart attack.
Just as she heard the sirens of the ambulance, her dizziness and nausea went away and that heat was replaced by sweat. Then it hit her -- she was having her first hot flash. She later told friends that after an awkward explanation to the emergency medical technicians, she knew the only thing she was dying of was embarrassment.
Dr. Terry Zanovich, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Tulsa OBGYN Associates, hears hot flash stories every day -- from women who are having their first to women who wonder when they will stop and even from women who wonder why they haven't had any at all.
The concern over hot flashes has to do with the physical discomfort, of course, but also about the broader question: "Does this mean I'm in menopause?"