Tag Archives: Night Sweats

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.


Slammed into Menopause


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A post by blogger and landscape architect Amelia Grant:

Women in my family tend to go through menopause later than usual. My mother was 56 years old and claimed ,“It only took one day!” My cousin is 54 and my sister 57, and  neither of them have any symptom of ‘the change.’

Last year I was diagnosed with a fibroid the size of a cantaloupe and an ovarian cyst the size of an orange.

I was looking somewhat pregnant and feeling a bit, um, large. The gynecologist was none too happy with me when I, at age 51, said,“Let’s give the things a little time. Maybe menopause will naturally shrink them.“ (This is possible –estrogen causes them to grow and lack thereof causes shrinkage).  51 is the average age of menopause.

Needless to say, I found myself having a total abdominal hysterectomy 3 months later, as I was still producing plenty of estrogen and the things were getting bigger instead of smaller. I emerged from the surgery thinner and happy my ovary had not exploded .

Things were not too bad at first. I was (and still am) reluctant to take hormone replacement therapy.

However, one night I awoke to find more fluid coming out of my body than I had ever experienced. Primarily, my neck for some bizarre reason.

It was as if some gigantic pores had opened below my hairline; the pillow was soaked, and I had to get a towel and sleep with it.

Then I decided to start counting the hot flashes; it was exceeding 10 a day, most of them requiring a wipe down.  Living in South Florida and the time of year being Summer did not help matters. I called the gynecologist and asked for some help.

“Is your sleep disturbed?” they asked.

Only by waterfalls of mysterious fluid leaking out of my neck..followed by frozen clamminess.

I am not sure if disturbed is even the proper word. Defiled is more like it.

So, I got the horse dose of HRT in a transdermal patch. The patch does help but I am still not out of the woods and menopause has definitely lasted more than one day.

Amelia Grant is a very experienced Landscape Architect/Designer who a few years back left the big city of Atlanta for an idyllic life in a small town in South Florida. The ensuing experiences led to a blog and new found pleasure in writing and sharing information online.


She lives on the Treasure Coast with her husband, two retired racing greyhounds and a fluffy  white cat. Landscape design and consulting are her primary occupation with writing, gardening, and cooking as sidelines.

Amelia’s  blog,The Shrub Queen, may be found at theshrubqueen.wordpress.com.

I Didn’t Pause for Menopause


When blogger Ruth Crates told me that she flew through menopause, I asked her to write us a post to present that side of  the story.  Take it away, Ruth!


I think I was so busy I missed it.

Since I am now 62, and I haven’t had a period in a while, I am pretty sure it happened.

Let’s back up just a little bit…


When I reached the age where periods were probable, my mom sat down with me (briefly) and we had a talk.

What I remember most about the talk was the fact that my grandmother never told my mother about the entire process.  Some subjects were just taboo in the 1930’s; this was one of them.  When her first period came, she seriously thought she was going to die and was afraid to tell anyone.   Luckily, her older sister intervened.

Even though Mom didn’t really give me a lot of information during the talk, she at least wanted to spare me the fear of the unknown.

She  gave me a little book created by Kotex  called “Now You Are 10”.  It explained everything very nicely and even had a diagram explaining how to use the little belts we had to wear to hold the sanitary napkins in place.   I never did get the hang of that!

now you are 10

Girls are always at some hormonal point in their lives.  I figure we get 10 years of no worries.

Then you have:  Premenstrual, Menstrual, Postmenstrual,  Pregnancy, Post pregnancy, Perimenopause. Menopause, and Post Menopause.  It’s the never-ending story!

I have gone through all those stages (some of them several times).

Unfortunately, now I have reached the stage which I have taken the liberty of calling “Oldness.”

I may be done with all of the above afflictions, but now there are new things  like memory-loss, confusion, arthritis, joint-replacement, and the ever popular incontinence.

As for the menopause thing, I had a pretty easy time of it.

My periods were never  regular except for a brief time in the 70’s when I was on “The Pill”.  So I can easily dismiss that symptom.

I don’t recall a single hot flash.

I did have night sweats for a long time…. maybe even as long as 10 years, but I blamed it on my mattress.

Since my periods were irregular, they were sometimes “super-heavy” and unpredictable.  I bought a rubberized bed cover to protect the mattress.  I always thought that the rubber discouraged air flow and  resulted in the sweats.  Maybe it was actually … menopause!

This I am sure of:  paranoia is a direct result of menopause.

When I turned 57, I had not had a period in several months and I began to have thoughts about being pregnant. It could happen.  These thoughts took on a life of their own and I began to obsess about it.

I had several mini-panic  attacks thinking I was pregnant.

I actually went to the doctor and had a pregnancy test done.   My doctor, thank goodness, is a woman, so I think she sensed how disturbed my thoughts were and wanted to put these fears to rest.

Of course, the results were negative, and I was quite relieved. I guess the funniest part about this obsession is that my husband had  a vasectomy 20 years earlier…. I mean, really, what were the odds!

I have always thought that obsessive and unrealistic thoughts were a side effect of menopause, at least in my case, because usually I am pretty sane.

Every woman’s menopause is different.

We should be careful not to compare our experience with others too closely. Experiencing an uneventful menopause is definitely preferable to having a difficult one.

Taking your menopausal symptoms seriously is sound procedure.

Visiting your doctor on a regular basis is just good sense.  The better your doctor knows you, the better chance you both have of being able to figure out what is going on with your body.  That is something we all need to be aware of no matter what time of life we are in.

Regardless of how you deal with the stages of your life… they are your Life.

Enjoy the changes and embrace each stage because there is always another one on the way!

Ruth profile

Ruth Crates was born and raised on a Midwest grain and livestock farm and has  lived her entire life within a 30 mile radius.  She’s  been married to a grain and livestock farmer for 41 years, and they have three children (An attorney, a carpenter, and a librarian) and three grandchildren. Ruth taught for 35 years. She’s now retired and loving it! She started blogging to record stories for her children and grandchildren. Check out her  blog at Retiredruth: Life in the 50’s and Beyond.