Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones has been treating women with menopause symptoms for almost 15 years, and she finds that most of them dont have enough accurate information about this midlife passage.
Nobody really teaches you about sex. And then nobody really teaches you about menopause, she said.
We get our menopause education, for the most part, from the same sources where we get our sexual information the lay press, the Internet and our friends. And a lot of times, those sources are not accurate.
Last year, at a meeting of the International Society for the Study of Womens Health, the Charlotte gynecologist watched the documentary Hot Flash Havoc and thought it did a great job of separating menopause facts from fiction in a funny and entertaining way.
So, she and her partners at Mintview Womens Care are hosting a screening of the film at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Mint Museum on Randolph Road. (Tickets are $25, and include a cocktail reception and discussion: mintviewhotflashhavoc.eventbrite.com.)
Women need to know this stuff, she said.
Kelly-Jones doubts most of her patients would take the time to read one of the many books published as baby boomers have reached menopause.
But if I say, Come to a movie thats 90 minutes long, thats a do-able thing.
Hot Flash Havoc explains the biology of menopause, including the decline of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, and the rise of symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, depression, dry skin and vaginal atrophy. It describes many therapies, including naturopathy and acupuncture.
And it takes on the controversial and confusing topic of hormone replacement therapy and research from the Womens Health Initiative, which initially scared many women into giving up estrogen.
When I was a resident (in the 1990s), everybody took hormones, Kelly-Jones said. It was like the fountain of youth. But everybody took the same thing Premarin or Prempro.
Those drugs were the ones used in the study, but many people misunderstood the findings.
Women still believe that estrogen causes breast cancer, Kelly-Jones said. Estrogens the fertilizer, not the seed.
That means estrogen may promote the growth of cancer that already exists, but doesnt cause it.
In recent years, many new hormones have become available, including creams and transdermal products that can be delivered through the skin or the vagina. You have options, Kelly-Jones said. Women dont have to suffer if they dont want to.
The movie has a totally serious message delivered in an entertaining way. It combines lively music Suddenly, Im feeling a power surge with cartoon figures as well as interviews with real-life doctors, patients and spouses.
One woman recalls how her mother explained menstruation by saying her Aunt Tilly would visit once a month for about 30 years and then wont come around anymore. Who the hell is Aunt Tilly, the woman laughed.
One of the best lines comes from a man: If this were happening to males, theyd fix it.