By Rose Simpson

If your doctor prescribes Prozac for your hot flashes, run away. That doctor is NOT your friend.

There is word today that an increasing number of physicians are doling out anti-depressants which, as a side-effect, seem to cool the pesky sweats women experience in menopause — this after research in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that women who took drugs like Cipralex had fewer hot flashes.

Sure, they had fewer hot flashes; they barely had a pulse.

Anti-depressants are way over-prescribed for women, and now those douchebag doctors are finding another reason to dole them out, to keep hysterical middle-aged women quiet.

Move away from the light!

When I was a university student, I experienced a severe bout of psoriasis one summer. I was referred to a dermatologist who prescribed tranquilizers. Fortunately, I’d just seen one of those feministic Jill Clayburgh movies about addiction to tranks, and I feared that I would wind up drooling in the corner someplace. I think I’d also just watched Valley of the Dolls.

I didn’t take them, and eventually the psoriasis went into remission on its own.

Since Dr. Freud days, doctors have been prescribing  mother’s little helpers for “nerves”. In my mother’s case, she got them, then they gave her shock therapy. By the time my poor mother reached menopause, whatever was left of her brain was calmer than a kitten having its tummy rubbed, but she was only half a human being.

I’ve known a gaggle of women who have gone on what my friend Roger calls “zoomers”. The doctors don’t bother to get a proper medical history and woman like them so much they chase them with bottles of wine or vodka. Do they have hot flashes? Probably, but they probably don’t care.

Now, I’m no Scientologist, no Tom Cruise, that’s for sure, but there is a germ of truth in what the Scieno-wankers are saying. These medications only mask the symptoms, and do nothing to eradicate the cause. Many women are depressed and despondent because they are caught in bad situations — economically, emotionally, physically — and no zoomer is going to help them off the ferris wheel of shit.

The pills are not for the women, they are for the doctors. Studies have shown that the most frequent way a doctor ends a consultation is to write a prescription. That’s because a doctor can’t solve a person’s mental health issues in a fifteen minute block when he  has traffic backed up in his waiting room and his reception is also having hot flashes.

What the pills do is get the women out of the doctor’s offices, and off their caseload.

I’m not saying zoomers aren’t needed in some severe cases, when people are depressed because their brains are somehow in an altered state, but often counselling works better; it helps sort out the problems causing the depression. But of course, who has time to talk anymore, and family docs just can’t be bothered. Give me a nurse practitioner, anytime!

Back to hot flashes. I am experiencing them every day of my life.

I’m getting one right now.

As with all the symptoms of menopause I’ve experienced, my hot flashes are intense and tadly uncomfortable. But I’ve embraced them, and now I kind of like them. Advice? Dress in layers and avoid turtlenecks and polyester (which any sensible woman should do anyway). Also exercise, avoid hot beverages and wine. (Or just drink the wine and ride out the wave, as I do.)

Whether you like ’em or hate ’em, hot flashes are a fact of life for middle-aged women. And this I know, in my heart or hearts; like the dreaded period cramp, childbirth  and my eczema, they will pass.

Rest assured,  down the road, the doctors will do a study which reveals that the antidepressants do nothing to improve hot flashes. Remember:  for every study, there is an equal and opposite study. You can set your clock by it.

I repeat. Don’t listen to your doctor if he prescribes Prozac for hot flashes; go to a naturopath instead.

You don’t need a Stepford Wife solution. You just need time.