Could sex really be the way to keep the menopause at bay?
PUBLISHED: 20:12 19 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:12 19 January 2020
Helen McDermott may have the solution to combating the menopause - and it could involve going to bed early...
I'm becoming increasingly hopeless at remembering stuff from years ago, events I was involved in and places that I went to. Quite often the other half will mention a person or a place and I don't have the foggiest idea about who or what he's talking about.
I put my poor memory down to an accident I was involved in when I was 16, namely being run over by a van while I was on a zebra crossing. Note that I suffered the indignity of it being a common old van, not a Rolls Royce. Obviously, I survived the bump (I bounced) but the nasty bang on the head I got did put me in hospital for a while, leaving me with no feeling above my right eyebrow. Yes, I know, "Where there's no sense there's no feeling." I've heard it about a thousand times.
Now this bump has never actually been diagnosed as the cause of my feeble memory, but it could be a useful excuse to get me off the hook when I struggle to recall the names of people I've known for years. The old theatrical trick of calling everybody "darling" or "love" can come in handy sometimes but unless you're a Judy Dench it's not ideal.
There can be other reasons for poor memory. Dementia and the distress associated with it is one that instantly comes up. What comes up less often, though it can be just as distressing in some ways, is the menopause. Whether they like it or not, women of a certain age - late 40s or early 50s as a rule - can expect to come up against it, though there are some very unfortunate women who it affects when they are much younger.
Twenty years ago, when I was in my late 40s, the subject wasn't discussed all that much. But when my mum was that age nobody talked about it at all. I remember her getting very depressed and ratty and all we could do was keep out of her way.
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But now we do talk about it, and a good thing too.
Recently, a friend (who I do remember) told me how she sometimes goes from happiness to anger, from insecurity to envy in the space of an hour. And she finds it hard to control it. She's successful and intelligent with a good job but she says she can't help being on this emotional rollercoaster.
Having been through similar territory myself I suggested that it sounded like pre-menopausal symptoms and that she should contact her doctor pronto and ask for a test. There is so much more help available now and there's research going on all the time. A recent report comes from University College London, one to raise the eyebrows and put a smile on more than one face: keep the menopause at bay with more sex - and you don't even need a partner. (Now they tell me.)
Remember the scene in When Harry met Sally, when Meg Ryan brings the diner to a silent standstill as she fakes an orgasm? Remember the middle-aged woman at the next table? "I'll have what she's having," she tells the waiter. According to the UCL scientists this sex thing is to trick the body into believing you are still of child-bearing age.
The fact that you can go it alone, so to speak, reminded me of Sleeper, a Woody Allen film of the 1970s. Woody plays the proprietor of a health food store who dies and is cryogenically preserved to be revived 200 years later in a world where sex can be dispensed with. Who needs a partner when you have an orgasmatron? You simply step in, switch on and it delivers the goods.
My aforementioned friend's birthday is due soon. I think I might have found her the perfect present...
By the way, I do wonder now if it could have been a Rolls Royce van that hit me. The mind does play tricks!