Tag Archives: Hot Flashes

Menopause in the Tropics: Saigon is Hot Enough! (and a Giveaway)


Crila Plantation Sue with PBS' HQ Roy Walkenhorst

A post by lawyer and business consultant Sue McKinney:

I’m a California lawyer who moved to Vietnam 21 years ago at age 40. When people ask what happened? I say “I got lucky!”

In ‘94, I went to Bangkok on business. Then the client sent a group of Thai businessmen to Saigon to look around and invited me along. The embargo against Vietnam had just ended. The country was about to re-emerge into the world community. I was granted a visa at the Vietnam Embassy in Bangkok. It changed my life.

Upon arrival, the airport looked the same as the 6 o’clock news images engraved on my mind from the war. Traffic was non-existent – bicycles, cyclos, a few scooters, the occasional car. As our van drove into the city, my white face shone like a spotlight. People noticed and followed our van – on their bikes, scooters, one man even jogged alongside until we stopped. Everyone else got out. I waited. A small crowd of people waited. Finally I had no choice but to get out too.

I stepped into the crowd of excited people who surged around me, clamoring in English “Where you from? Where you from?”

It was disconcerting, but they weren’t hostile, just anxious. It totally crossed my mind to say “I’m Canadian!” but I really wanted to know what this was all about. I stammered, “I’mm Ammericann.”

The man who’d been jogging alongside reached out his arms to me. He didn’t touch me, but he wanted to. He fought to find the English words. He managed to say, “Are. You. Coming…back?!” They would rush to the airport – organize banners, flowers, a banquet – were the Americans coming back?

Twenty-one years later, that day still stands out among the most profound experiences of my life. The pro-American attitude was everywhere we went. Where in the world does that happen? The group stayed a week before returning to Bangkok. But within 30 days, I was back. Saigon had bitten me hard. Within months I’d closed my law office and sold my house in California. I was in Saigon trying to come to terms with the enigma that is Vietnam. I’m still trying.

When I asked Vietnamese friends, “Why are you so pro-American?” they’d look confused.

“Oh, do you mean ‘The American War’? But that war was only 20 years…We fought the French for 150 and the Chinese for 1,000.” There’s perspective for you.

I export ceramics, furniture, jewelry, art, and rice. Finally, most importantly, I export a rare medicinal herb. Vietnam is a bio “hot spot”. The Amazon rain forest claims 12,000 species of plants; Vietnam claims 20,000 species with 4,000 classified as medicinal.

Vietnam’s top scientist, Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Tram, who devoted her life to botanical medicine, developed Crila® over 25 years. Clinical trials for prostate and uterine health were a success. An American medical university confirmed that it’s estrogen free.

Girlfriends tried it for menopause. Magic! We didn’t have to suffer hot flashes on top of sweltering in the heat and humidity of Saigon. Take Crila® and have another scoop of fresh mango ice cream. Saigon Book Club friends invested with me to bring it to market for you. But that’s another story. Follow it on our website, www.crilahealth.com

Giveaway!! I can’t send you the mango ice cream, but enter an enticing comment, and I’ll send someone three  bottles of Crila®. Satisfaction guaranteed; it’s that good. For a chance to win, enter a comment by November 20.  Winner will be chosen at random. Thanks!


Sue McKinney is a lawyer and business consultant who settled in Vietnam in 1994. She has been instrumental in creating hundreds of jobs and exporting thousands of Vietnamese products. Sue has had the pleasure of witnessing and taking part in Vietnam’s extensive economic and social growth. She’s active in Rotary and has been the incountry liaison on 21 Rotary projects from wheelchairs to libraries to soccer balls.

Top Photo: Sue in a a Crila plantation with Roy Walkenhorst, host of the PBS broadcast, Healing Quest.

Bottom Photo: Sue in Viet Nam.

A Woman’s Time Menopause Research Study




A request from the folks at A Woman’s Time:

We are doing a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an experimental herbal product in menopausal women with hot flashes and night sweats. Participation for women in the study would last about three and one-half months and would require 4 visits to our office in Portland, Oregon. Payments to you of $20 will be made for each of the last three visits.

We are seeking women over 45 who have an average of 5 or more hot flashes and/or night sweats per day (at least 35 per week) to test the herbal product to see if it helps.

To see if you might qualify for this study, please click on the questionnaire here. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. You may stop the questionnaire at any time. If you do not qualify for this study, some of the information you give, but not identifiable information about you, will be stored until the end of the study.


Bochorno* Escolar: Hot Flashes at School


                    Spa 304 final at mercado BA

A post by writer, teacher, and healer Sirena Pellarolo    

Se siente bien, maestra?” the student who was sitting directly in front of me asked.Are you ok?”

I could barely respond. I was standing there, in the middle of the circle of students–my favorite format for conducting class– trying to keep my “cool” and remember what I was doing there. I had felt a hot flash mounting up my legs from the very bottom of my feet, increasing temperature as it ascended, until it got to its highest tension in my face and head. It then erupted in visible sweat that flashed my face and made my neck and armpits moist. It was a power surge indeed, and my face was red as a tomato and my consciousness astral travelling.

When I was able to finally come back to my senses, I sat down in front of twenty faces that looked at me in horror. And then I calmly said: “It’s a hot flash!”

That day I learnt that it was better to warn my students as soon as I felt the glimpse of a hot flash coming. It didn’t matter if I was lecturing about tango women or Eva Perón, or if the designated student was giving a presentation about that day’s reading. As soon as I felt my head becoming lighter at the onset of what I felt was an of out-of-body experience unfailingly resulting in a dangerous increase of my body temperature, I would yell “Hot flash!”

In time, my students became accustomed to my interruptions of lectures with the disclosing in real time of what my body was going through. They actually started liking the fact that they were privy to my most intimate symptoms punctuating the change I was undergoing in menopause. And one of them, compassionate enough of my desperation to find anything to fan my fiery body with during those trances, one day came to class with a “present.”

“Maestra,” she said. “Last weekend I was in Las Vegas, and my older sister took me to this show, Menopause, the Musical. It reminded me of you. They were giving out these cute fans to audience members, and I thought it would come in handy when you’re teaching class and those hot flashes take you by surprise. “

I looked at the simple tool: a white hand fan with the inscription Menopause, the Musical on its reverse side. I looked at it in appreciation, and thanked the student for her mindfulness. I understood then the importance of these gadgets, and how I had seen my abuelita holding the most exquisite collection of silk fans during her outings. She was a pro at opening and closing it with just a twist of her wrist in a gesture that made her look as a sophisticated matron, who knew what to do with her hands in social gatherings. So now I knew what those fans were actually for!

Needless to say, I tucked the white fan in the bag where I carried my books and folders. It accompanied me to school during those long peri-menopausal years and helped me cool off when needed. It was also good that my school fan was simpler than the beautifully embroidered ones that my abuelita flaunted during tea parties and other social occasions. All things considered, Amalia’s thoughtful gift might have been plain, but it embodied her care, and it also kept me “shame-free” at school.

*bochorno means “shame” in Spanish. The same word was used to name hot flashes, referencing a link between uncontrolled body reactions in aging women and shame.


Sirena Pellarolo, Ph.D., your Midlife Midwife, is an author, speaker and holistic healer. She supports women in their menopause years to manage symptoms naturally, through cleanses, live foods, and emotional detoxing.  A board certified holistic health coach, raw food educator, detox expert, radio host and blogger, Sirena is Professor Emerita of Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies. She has authored and published numerous articles and two books on Latin American performance and gender studies, globalization and new social movements.

Her forthcoming book Recover Your Juiciness: A 30 Day DIY Guide for an Empowered and Healthy Menopause will be out next Fall by Flower of Life Press. She has also designed a program, “Four Months Towards an Empowered and Healthy Menopause,” that follows the four stages of healing covered in the book.

For more info check out Sirena’s menopause website, here.

Contact Sirena at info@sirenapellarolo.com

Top Photo:  End of classes dinner with Sirena’s Spanish 304 students at Mercado Buenos Aires, Northridge, California

Menopause: Hello Blank Stare


Jen bling from Zoe

 A post by Jennifer Delabar

I want to thank Barbara for inviting me to share my tale of woe about menopause.

What can I tell you about menopause that you don’t already know? My story, I’m sure, is a common one. It started with my missing a period here and there starting around age 40 (when my gynecologist advised me that I was just “getting old”), to the present day, when I’m 48 and not too happy with Mother Nature.

I’m too young to be in menopause” I kept expressing to anyone who would listen! I was under the mistaken belief that only women over 50 had to think about menopause.

No one can prepare you for what happens to you when your period finally stops coming. You actually miss those horrible cramps, ruined underpinnings, Dorito binges and black rage weeks. At least with the menstrual cycle there was an end in sight. With menopause there is no hormonal drop at the end of the cycle. It’s crazy-time all the time.

I had gone to my mother as most of us do, for some answers. She told me “I don’t remember going through it”. Thanks, mom.

Back to square one. I was desperate to talk to someone about what was happening in my life. I would be in line at the bank or the grocery store, beads of sweat forming on my forehead and under my eyes, and look at the person behind me and say, “They should really turn up the air conditioning; it’s so warm in here.” Hello blank stare. It was January.

Garage sales were always a big draw for me. Lots of people milling around, there must be other menopausal women there that could commiserate with me! But the only comment I ever received was a disheartening “Oh yeah the hot flashes never go away.”

So alone with nowhere to turn! It’s been three years and countless buckets of sweat have escaped from my pores since my last period. I no longer look for answers from strangers. I have found that most women don’t want to talk about it. We are like a secret society that no one wants to belong to!

I tried to talk to my friends about menopause.They were still getting their periods, and they couldn’t understand what I was going through. They didn’t know how to respond. I could feel their fear and pity looking back at me. Secretly in my evil menopausal brain, I couldn’t wait until they entered menopause and then they would come crawling to me, looking desperately for the answers to those “why” questions.

Why so many hot flashes, why the crying without cause, the depression, why the loss of a sex drive, why the loss of feeling feminine?

I will look at them lovingly and say “I don’t remember.”

Jenifer Delabar is the divorced mother of one awesome son, who is 22 years old. She’s a student of Buddhism. She lives on Long Island and works as a legal secretary and has a degree in funeral service.  Jennifer loves to read, learn, practice yoga and never stops asking questions.

From Barbara: I too, found that many women either didn’t remember menopause or didn’t have much to say when I asked them. That’s why I started this blog. I thank all of you for chiming in with your own experiences!