Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hair Change

I love my book group. When we first started meeting, we named ourselves "The Women Who Sleep With Books" because we all had young children, and the only time we had to read books was in bed late at night. By then, we were often too tired and fell asleep.

But the we-all-have-young-children days are long gone. Now we're in leagues with our hot flashes. Apparently, I've been more flamboyant about mine. At book group last night, one of the Debbies said she'd explained to her daughter she didn't want to go off estrogen because this woman in her book group (namely, me) was taking off her socks when the hot flashes struck. She just didn't want to go there. What? Is removing socks in public so wrong?

When it comes to menopause, just about everyone has heard of hot flashes. But not about hair loss. Yup, you heard me right. Hair loss. You'll find it on the list at 34 Menopause Symptoms Item #8. Worse, the term for it is male-pattern baldness (choke). The write-up about the symptom supports what I've been insisting all along: "Hair loss can be one of the more depressing symptoms of menopause, as a woman´s hair is associated with her femininity, sexuality, and individual sense of style."

But that's not all. Michelle Slatalla's column in the March 4, 2010 New York Times tipped me off to the web site Gail Sheehy has founded called Women's Voices for Change. There, you'll find a sweet little write-up on hair gain. We may be losing the hair off our heads, but meanwhile, it's arriving on our chinny-chin-chins. It's growing in as sideburns and on our upper lips, too--guy stuff, due to increased levels of testosterone in menopause. Yikes!

But Gail Sheehy is not willing to let us crones twist in the wind. In the same Slatalla column ("Fast Forward to Old Age, Please"), she is quoted as saying that when women age into menopause, "you go through the doorway to the most creative and individual and exciting period of your life."

Which must be why it's called "the change."