LIVING WITH MENO(LESS)PAUSE(S)
Mrs. Helena bursts into the pharmacy and exclaims, placing the prescription on the counter: “I’m tired, I give up!”
And keeps going: “I no longer sleep, no one in the house can put up with me anymore!
I have to take three or four baths a day. Do you know what this is? You don’t know… you’re young, no one prepares us for it.”
Feeling such a revolt coming from her, I try to calm her down while I see that she has a prescription for a hormone repository.
Not being a person who comes to the pharmacy every day, I remember already having given her a soy-based isoflavone-based menopause food supplement that was prescribed to her at a first gynecological consultation, when she insisted that the doctor did not give her “medicines”.
Menopause is a natural process that happens to all women, usually between the ages of 45 and 55. It is characterized by the production cessation of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that regulate various processes at the level of reproduction.
Its diagnosis is made 12 months after the last menstrual period.
However, the characteristic symptomatology may begin earlier, with the gradual reduction of estrogen. Some women have no complaints and only notice when they stop menstruating.
These are the so-called “lucky women”, as Mrs. Helena points out during the conversation. However, most women at this stage experience hot flashes, sweats, mood swings and insomnia that affect their everyday lives. Vaginal dryness and decreased libido are also common complaints.
In general, these symptoms lead them to ask for help from health professionals, whether pharmacists or doctors.
Despite scientific evidence of the benefits of menopausal hormone replacement, there are women who still have many reservations when they are offered this alternative.
This is the case of my customer who feels indignant because during her reproductive life she always “fled” the pill and now “has no other way”.
I try to explain to her the positive aspect and the improvements she will feel in terms of life quality.
In addition to dispensing the medicine prescribed by the doctor, I also take the opportunity to talk about small daily gestures, which aren’t “medicines” but help to improve the symptoms and consequences of menopause.
Osteoporosis and weight gain are also problems that can arise or worsen at this stage. Therefore, a varied and diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, as well as walking, are good practices that should be acquired, if not before, at least after the diagnosis.
After a little less than a month, Mrs. Helena comes back to pick up the second box, she comes with a smile and asks me: “Remember me?”
I answer yes, and smile as she tells me how her life has been improving since the beginning of the medication.
In the end, she thanks me for helping to demystify the hormone repositories and for the little tips that made all the difference, especially when it comes to walking.
Being a woman is a challenge at any stage of life. Personally, as a woman and as a pharmacist, I feel honored to know that I contribute daily to improving the life quality of women (of all ages) with whom I have the privilege of crossing paths at the pharmacy (or blog).
Happy International Women’s Day!