Crazy ladies

Lynne McTaggart

Many years ago I read an article in Esquire by Nora Ephron entitled ‘Dealing with the, uh, Problem,’ about the early days of the feminine-hygiene spray business.  Ephron was investigating how Alberto-Culver managed to convince women, as a rival company had done in its advertising that her “trickiest deodorant problem isn't under her pretty little arms.”

What interested me the most about the piece was marketing strategy: create the demand for the problem to sell the solution. And back in the 1970s, promoting their invented solution as feminist, part of the then sexual revolution.

Tell women they are smelly and unattractive – that they’ve got an, uh, problem so unmentionable that you have to sell it with euphemisms – and you can make a killing.

And Alberto-Culver (and many other companies following them) did just that:  $40 million way back in 1973, which equates to $259 million today on their market share alone.  Today, the global market in feminine hygiene sprays is projected to grow to $54.52 billion in 2028.

This has long been a ploy of the pharmaceutical industry. The drugs industry sold the world on the idea that depression resulted from too little serotonin and heart attacks from too much cholesterol floating around in the body, clogging up arteries, blowing up hearts.

Both situations were complete falsehoods, an invented cause of a problem with a solution to be concocted in the laboratory.

And immediately the drug companies set about deftly seeding both ideas into the public consciousness and got rich in the process, with their hot-out-of-the-laboratory new drugs:  selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and statins.

I was reminded of all of this the other day reading a headline in the Daily Telegraph: “Menopause ‘reshapes’ the brain, researchers find, and HRT should be prescribed earlier.”

This was followed by a subtitle that read: “Academics say hormone replacement therapy should be seen as a ‘protective' measure for perimenopausal women to halt ‘rewiring’ of the brain.”

This story has breathlessly arrived in the wake of the UK making hormone replacement therapy an over-the-counter drug, and journalists proclaiming it a feminist right.

What followed was a huge run on the drugs to the point where drugstores have now run out of stocks and the UK government is forced to begin emergency rationing and set up a special HRT Task Force to staunch the flow of HRT through the black market.

The Daily Telegraph story concerned a year-old study, claiming that a sharp decline in estrogen, as occurs during menopause, has a significant impact on the brain, reducing gray matter and changing blood flow.

As Dr. Diaz Briton, a neuroscientist at the University of Arizona, stated in a forthcoming UK documentary, “Menopause is like a renovation project on the brain, a restructuring, a rewiring. . . the idea that we can just suck it up is actually deleterious to women’s long-term health.”

Dr. Briton says that delaying treatment for a year after periods cease, the usual practice in the UK by general practitioners, could be dangerous because the “brain has already changed and it’s no longer going to respond to estrogen therapy.”

Written almost as an afterthought in the press articles is the study’s conclusion:  some of those changes to the brain resolved after menopause – as did cognitive performance “suggesting adaptive compensatory processes.” Sci Rep 1110867 (2021).

Those women who went on to get Alzheimer’s were only those genetically predisposed to it.

They also failed to mention an earlier four-year randomized study of menopausal women showing that increasing ventricular volume with HRT (CEE) not only did not affect cognitive function but might be dangerous (Neurology 2016;87:887–896).

Or the WHIMS-MRI studies showing that once women stopped taking HRT the rates of decline in brain volumes remained similar to the placebo group (Neurology 2014;82:427–434).

Or the Women’s Health Initiative of more than 16,000 women, which ended the trial three years earlier because the HRT women had more heart conditions, more strokes, more blood clots and 24 percent more breast cancer than those not taking the hormone.

So what you’re really talking about here is a temporary upset during a major transition in a woman’s life, which can cause many troubling symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes and brain fog, much as women talk about ‘baby brain’ when they become new mothers and are making this transition.

I’m not in any way minimizing the trouble many women have during menopause.  But I know of many natural and effective therapies to use instead of HRT that do not cause heart attacks, strokes or cancer.

I also take exception to the idea that women after 50 will suffer long-term cognitive decline unless given HRT.  The late Barbara Marx Hubbard liked to say that she was in the midst of a ‘regenepause’ in her 80s, as did Margaret Meade, who spoke of the ‘post menopausal’ zest of women, who when, largely finished with the concerns of families and children, finally had the time and energy to pursue the many talents that had laid dormant for many decades.

I certainly wrote all my most important books and had my most important insights at the time I was supposed to be dolally deranged during my own change.

But then, maybe this is only a crazy old lady, talking to herself.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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1,278 comments on “Crazy ladies”

  1. Most of our lives MEN have been making decisions about our bodies! Male scientists and doctors, who for many, many decades, only did research on men, BECAUSE they Assumed the only difference between us and them, was our genital parts! They have ABUSED our bodies in so Many Different Ways I have lost count! God/Source/All That Is/Creator made our bodies PERFECT. Some surgeon removed my appendix (without asking) when I was 20 and he removed my gallbladder, stating it was an "unnecessary organ!" As if, Divinity did not know what it was doing!! They now label some of our DNA as "Junk DNA!" Obviously they don't know what it is for, so they, the high and mighty scientists, assume it has no viable purpose, like our appendix, which they have since discovered helps enhance our immune system!

    Our Bodies are one of the Most Amazing, Incredible Miraculous Creations ever! I grew from microscopic cells to an adult without a manual! My entire life I breathe, my heart beats, I digest food, expel waste, see, feel, smell, hear and on and on without having to do anything to keep those things going! There is nothing humans have created that compares! Not even to a single tiny seed growing into and incredible, colorful, detailed flower... or a tomato plant overflowing with tomatoes, or a 5,000 year old tree.. that each reseed and make more of themselves! None of our creations compare!

    So THANK YOU Lynn for sharing that information. Mostly men have headed religions who wiped out indigenous cultures all around the world in the name of their god. Men also created most wars and killed most people for hundreds and hundreds of years. Today, most companies who have destroyed this planet are headed by men. They design and market foods which are Not Nourishing to the body and make them addictive on purpose, because their bottom line is profit. They design marketing to fool people!

    WHY so many women TRUST these people is way beyond me! No, not all men are this way. However, most major corporations which are doing most of these things are still headed by men in our patriarchal society. They have never had our "highest interests" in mind! They desire to keep us subdued and in their control mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. In the United States, mostly men decide what we can do with out bodies...politicians, doctors, religious leaders, and more. And on it goes. Not all men, by any means, however, I would estimate, in the global mass consciousness, women are still suffering from lack of respect, understanding, compassion, and equality on almost all levels world wide. I will stop here. However, I thank you Lynne for your willingness to point out the lies being perpetrated for so many years.

    I have a close friend who has had a number of physical challenges the past couple of years. The only remedy she has been offered at these various doctors is always more Drugs! They also never ask what other drugs she is taking to see if they might conflicts. The last one had an entire page of warnings of what it could cause. She refuses to take most of them and still keeps healing finding natural remedies of her own! Thanks again!

  2. Is the natural progesterone story also a myth. That we need it because of hormonal changes?

  3. i am so glad I never believed any of those so called 'studies' – if and when I do read a study, the first thing I look for is who paid for it ;-). I am 80 years old, do not take any medication of any kind and I am fit and have my brain power (even if a bit slower than before) intact. Sicne both of my parents died at the age of 96, I figured I had long-life genes and make sure I do not suffer from dementia and Alzheimers as they did, by eating a WFPB diet, go walking with my dog for at least two hours a day ...and since it is a small dog, I have to be able to squat.... it is possible !!!

  4. Personally for me HRT has helped me. I am 37 and in perimenopause with a history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. My body was aching, I was experiencing rage, memory loss, brain fog, intrusive thoughts, suicidal ideation, whole body crying, it was terrifying. I had to go private for help because my GP refused to consider I was perimenopausal because of my age and instead wanted to give me antidepressants but I know my body so I refused. Not everything is big pharma out to get us.

    The study by the women’s initiative is flawed. I have found the work of Dr Louise Newton very helpful. As women we are not a monolithic and have vastly different experiences. My biological mother at menopausal age (51) was admitted to psychiatric hospital for psychosis with no prior history of a mental disorder and my adoptive mother during perimenopause had a mental breakdown. In the NHS now in some trusts there is a drive to understanding menopause and it’s impact on mental health so when women of perimenopausal and menopausal age are seen there is a screening to assess whether there presentation may be due to menopause.
    There is an increase in suicide of women in their perimenopausal years. Samaritans showed the highest rate of suicide among women was between the ages of 45 to 54. "The vast majority of women will be peri-menopausal by the age of 45, the average age of menopause is 51.

    The work of Prof Kulkarni – Psychiatrist and Director at Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre is great around understanding hormones, menopause and mental health. Also the work of Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist who has studied the female brain and written a book called the XX Brain is a great resource in understanding how hormones effect our brains throughout our lives as females.

    Some people don’t need treatment and sail through just fine and some people need additional support including a healthy lifestyle, supplements, complementary therapies, talking therapy, exercise, low stress, and HRT. Yes menopause is a normal transition in a woman’s life but like during adolescence some teenagers seem to sail through and for some the hormones contribute to increase in mental illness and also much like pregnancy and postnatally. Hormones are powerful and play a huge role in our health and well-being. Women need to educate themselves and advocate for themselves (and keep out of the drama cyclones created by media and learn discernment) because the system is only invested in upholding itself not our wellbeing.

    What should really be happening is giving clear information and women be allowed to make informed decisions. But instead women get caught in a war between other women’s experiences, fear, the media, the reputation of big pharma, feeling like a failure for using HRT, struggling, Dr’s being ignorant about menopause and mental health, and the shaming of women about their bodies and unequal access to support and resources.

    I highly recommend the work of Dr Louise Newson, Professor Kulkarni and Lisa Mosconi.

    1. I also enjoy the work of Red School by Alexandra and Sjanie who view menopause through a psychospiritual lens and see it as an initiation and powerful process of evolution. And the first phase of menopause being betrayal. There work has helped me greatly with my menstrual cycle and continues to through this next transition. They have their menopause book out this Autumn (2022) called Wise Power and they advocate that menopause is a sacred rite of passage and an initiation into leadership, power, and transformation.

  5. Oh Lynn, this story reminds ne of how marketing methods got women smoking. Men took to it easily but in order to convince women they staged debutants looking extremely elegant smoking using cigarette holders.
    I sadly admit that I have lost complete faith in the media and marketing companies. And what is even more scary is how opposing views and blocked or misconstrued. Thank you for doing what you fo.

  6. When I reached menopause in the late 1980's - I recognised that I had a choice. I could choose the path of decline (related to belief) or...I could choose the path of further self discovery. I chose discovery - and haven't looked back.

  7. Thank you Lynne. I am 70 years old and I can say that I did not even notice menopause. At 52 years old, I had to deal with my partner having a serious motorcycle accident. He was on disability for three years. Menopause was happening for me during those times. I just dealt with everything as usual, or I should say with more demands than usual, and I certainly never thought of any hormone therapy. Big pharma does not stop at anything and always finds new ways to make us dependent. Thank you for your article, Lynne.

  8. Thank You Lynne for the article. Yes, big pharma will invent just about anything to sell their drugs. I am in my 70s and never took HRTs. Letting nature take its course works just fine although I have had some issues but resolved them with natural substances such as tea tree oil suppositories for bladder issues we can experience. And there are other great products out there if one looks. My mother took HRTs for only a year when she was in her 60s. She recently crossed over of natural causes because she decided to leave the earth and she had been off pharmaceuticals for years when she left.

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