Viola Davis: ‘When you talk about anything about menopause, men just die’

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Always great rapping with Jimmy ❤❤

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Jimmy Kimmel should book Viola Davis as a guest every night. She was on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week and she was a delight. The segment started with Jimmy complimenting Viola’s hair (which does look fab). Viola told Jimmy that what most people don’t know is that maintaining an afro is very hard, which is true, I did not know that but the way Viola described it, I get it. This led to one of the funniest stories I have heard in a while. I can summarize it for you but it’s best when Viola tells it so watch it if you can:

Viola said that she used to wear a wig because afros are so hard to maintain. She made the mistake of wearing the wig to an MRI. She had bobby pins in and MRIs use powerful magnets. When Viola walked into the room, “that wig started floating off my head,” and the pins flew like bullets, terrifying the poor nurse. The story prompted Jimmy to ask Viola if she was okay (because she needed an MRI) and Viola explained it’s just something women need. This led to Viola discussing menopause and how men can’t handle even hearing the word. Jimmy, bless him, fell on his sword and claimed he didn’t even know what menopause was.

When you talk about anything especially dealing with menopause or breasts, men just die a slow death

I know this is going to sound like a very stupid questions, specially for a man my age, what is menopause?
You know what? Menopause is hell, Jimmy. Menopause is a dark hole, okay? That’s what menopause is. And that’s where I’m at right now. I will either love my husband today or kill him today.

How long does it last?
You know what? Somebody needs to tell me that.

Can I get an A-MEN, please? Viola is only three years older than me, so I’m wondering if she’s in perimenopause like me. It’s all hell, as she said. She’s telling the truth about men not being able to handle discussions on women’s health. I will mention perimenopause (mostly as an answer as to why my brain has short circuited). If there are more than two men there, the conversation stops, with the men looking at their hands. My friend’s husband said she’d embarrassed him by mentioning she was having a hot flash and she felt bad for that. I’d really like to see this change. We cannot keep covering up our health issues for the sake of men’s delicate feelings.

Viola also discussed the weight gain that comes with menopause. She’s struggling with it as much as I am. I’ve only gone up one dress size, but I feel like I’ve failed somehow. I understand that this sounds absurd and I don’t want sympathy, just solidarity. If we can’t speak about it openly, we’ll never know that what we’re going through is normal.




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87 Responses to “Viola Davis: ‘When you talk about anything about menopause, men just die’”

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  1. Snazzy says:

    I watched the interview on YouTube last night … she is hilarious!

  2. PhillyGal says:

    Menopause is Hell. I had a hysterectomy 10 years ago, and to this day I still have horrible hot flashes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for me. No one tells you that some women continue to have symptoms of menopause long after they have gone through it.

    • H says:

      I had my hysterectomy two years ago and the hot flashes suck. My daughter laughs when I start pulling off clothes, fanning myself or put my head in the refrigerator. I laugh back and tell her: just you wait.

    • Mia says:

      I had one April 17, 2013. When I had my first hot flash I got on a ladder and put my head in a freezer. I used to be embarrassed to be in an air condition place , fanning. Just bought some cute fans and fan away. When people ask me why I’m fanning, I just reply “keep living”

    • Fergus says:

      Best cure for hot flashes is Phytogen PM by Solgar. I have no connection with them. Just two friends started taking for their hot flashes and they completely disappeared. Now, like with anything herbal, research the ingredients and make sure they don’t interfere with anything you’re already taking (and for another friend, it made their stomach upset, so couldn’t take). Since then, I’ve recommended for others and it works really great.

      I get hot flashes from my thyroid meds, but i don’t mind them because otherwise i’m so cold deep in my core.

      I’m almost 50, and haven’t had period in about 6 months. Besides this and some weight gain, i don’t have symptoms. Here’s hoping that remains, but I fear it’s going to be bad eventually bc my periods were so terrible.

    • Giddy says:

      My doctor came in the recovery room to see me after my hysterectomy. I was awake enough that I remember asking him when would I go into menopause. He grinned and said that would be two hours ago. And there can be symptoms that you won’t find anywhere. My unknown one was that the bottom of my heels began to absolutely kill me. I felt like I had been horribly injured and just couldn’t remember it, or a sadist had attacked my feet with a nail gun. I finally found it listed as one of those obscure but real things that can happen. For about six months I wore very strange, very cushioned footwear… if I could have I would have tied down pillows around my feet. I told everyone that I had fallen and broken a bone.

    • Dazed and confused says:

      I had my hysto in 2010 and I have been lucky to not have many hot flashes. But I made up for it in weight gain. Nothing I try gets it to go back down, either.

      @Giddy – I just started having that weird heel pain a couple of months ago!!! I just figured it was part of getting older.

  3. Sharon Clark says:

    YES to menopause being hell. My doctor’s have chemically induced it early for me post cancer treatment. The hot flashes are the WORST. Cheers to Viola!

  4. Branvoyage says:

    My husband didn’t know what menopause was either until his brother told him.
    His brother and his wife had been through an extremely rocky several years, where the brother said many times that she’s crazy and made plans to leave her after the youngest graduated. This went on for a long time, every time hub came home from a visit with his bro there were more woe is me stories about how terrible his wife was.
    Fast forward to several months back and I see a sappy love post on Facebook from said brother to his wife, so I ask my husband about it. He said, “Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you. Apparently she went into this thing called menopause now so she’s completely calmed down and they are getting along great!”
    He said they had this conversation about how great this menopause thing is… I don’t think he really understands it at all. He thinks it’s something that just happens in a day.

    I don’t really understand what will happen at all myself, and I don’t have a close mother figure, so I completely agree that people should be more open about it.

    Anyway, I’m 39 now so I guess me and my husband both will be figuring out what all is involved soon enough.

    • Mia says:

      some older men I know have told their wives, I don’t care what you do but please get some help.

    • Bella Bella says:

      The best thing to know about menopause is that it is different for every woman. For some, the perimenopause (years before menopause) years are difficult. For others, not. For some, menopause lasts many years. For others, not. Some people get hot flashes, some don’t. Some even run cold. Some women get hair on their chins, some don’t. Often women get depressed during perimenopause and menopause and do not realize it is a symptom of menopause.

      I think that is probably the most frustrating thing — that it is different for everyone. And the same goes for what will make you feel better. For some, a progesterone cream rubbed onto the wrist works wonders. For some, nope. Some women have zero interest in taking any kind of medication and want to do everything homeopathically or with herbs and changing eating habits. There are some good books out there. “The Wisdom of Menopause” by Christiane Northrup is quite good. And her book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” is also one I think every woman should read — there are chapters in there about menopause. As I recall, I read “Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way” by Susan Weed after someone recommended that as well.

      For me, I had a hysterectomy due to a precancerous condition. So I wanted to read up on what might happen. In the end, I had no hot flashes at all. So that wasn’t even an issue.

      • Rosie says:

        Yes, everybody’s menopause is very different. Mine started very early and I’m not going to discuss my experience for fear of tempting fate!! Thanks for the recommendations, they sound interesting.

  5. Ashipper says:

    Yes, menopause is difficult but not having your period anymore is awesome! I don’t think we focus on that enough. I love not having to deal with that mess anymore.

    • Mia says:

      Hell yess, don’t miss Aunt Flo coming to visit monthly at all

    • Esmom says:

      Yes, that is the upside for sure! I haven’t had one in over a year now so I guess that officially puts me into menopause. I haven’t found it too hellish in general, at least not so far. I’ve had hot flashes on and off for a couple years, but I can think of worse things. They come like clockwork now at 5:00 pm every evening so I just kinda mentally prepare. I’ve always battled anxiety and depression so any mood issues going on with me aren’t anything new.

      The other thing that no one warned me about are more aches and pains in my joints. Not terrible but low key annoying. My doc said that estrogen has anti inflammatory properties so when that decreases more pain is inevitable. Good times, lol.

    • Sherry says:

      Agreed. Less moodiness and crying, for which I am extremely grateful!

      • KidV says:

        I’m more emotional now. I haven’t had a period in over 5 years, I’ve never had a hot flash, but I tend to gain weight easily in my stomach and I’m more emotional. I was never that emotional with PMS, I always knew I had PMS because I would secretly plot ways to harm my enemies, but that was all in my head, outwards I was seemingly normal. Now I tear up at the drop of a hat. I liked it better when I was plotting to harm my enemies. LOL

    • Astrid says:

      Yes, totally glad to not mess with that mess every month!

    • FHMom says:

      This is true. I haven’t had a period in almost 2 years and it’s heaven. My periods were painful and ruined more vacations than I care to remember. My anxiety has ratcheted up, and sleep has become a big issue for me. I started on Effexor a few months ago and-take melatonin and a benedryl at night, and this has helped me tremendously. I’m not sure I can blame menapause for my anxiety, but I definitely blame it for my sleep problems. All in all, though, it hasn’t been terrible. Don’t let anyone scare you. I think the peri menopausal years are frightening because a lot of women anticipate the worst. It may not be nearly as bad as you think.

      • KidV says:

        Take magnesium before bed. Before menopause officially hit I started waking up at 3:30 every morning. I started taking liquid magnesium, around 200-300mg, and I sleep all night now. Most people are deficient in magnesium so it really helps. It’s very calming so should help with anxiety too.

      • Jaded says:

        Try U-Dream herbal – it helps with insomnia really well.

      • FHMom says:

        Thanks, ladies. Will check out both of them.

    • lucy2 says:

      I can’t wait for that! Just crossing my fingers the rest of it isn’t too bad.

    • Kitten says:

      You don’t need to go through menopause for that. Just get an IUD. Haven’t had my period in over a year and it’s great 🙂

    • isabelle says:

      Not for everyone has a horrible menopause, a lot of women don’t have extreme symptoms. In fact it can be a relief if you have suffered from horrible PMS, POC or endometriosis It can vary from woman to woman. Our ‘pause is just as unique as our bodies.

    • JANAK says:

      If only that day WOULD COME~I’ve been having periods for 44 years now, and I have to tell you, I am so over it I could spit. I’ll take the hot flashes, the weight gain, etc…but not at the same time I’m still dealing with periods at fifty-fucking-six!!!!!

      • Sue says:

        I started perimenopause early due to damaged ovaries as a result of cysts. I ended up with acne and sweating flashes. I also had a three day meltdown in my 40’s where I couldn’t stop crying. My husband got me to the doctor and I was put on Effexor which greatly reduced the depression and anxiety.

        It’s been almost a year for me without a period and I love it! My periods were terrible. I can put up with the occasional sweatfest if it means no more period pain or mid month ovarian pain!

        I also agree that society as a whole needs to be more informed about menopause. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.

      • Justwastingtime says:

        Janak my sympathies ,,, that is not fun

  6. Dee says:


  7. Branvoyage says:

    Also, I would’ve loved to hear the story of her reading her old love letters.

  8. Gigi La Moore says:

    I went through it at 44. 47 now. Almost 4 years period free. My hot flashes were mild but the depression and panicky feelings were a beast. Still not fully over that, so I’m on a low dose antidepressant right now. My weight is o.k., still at a US 4 but it’s getting harder to maintain. A few heavy meals puts on a couple of pounds. Combatting that with sleep, water and exercise.

    • isabelle says:

      There are some studies it is better to go through it earlier rather than later. Better for certain types of cancers and the symptoms may be less to tolerable.

  9. Caroline says:

    I love Viola. And at 51 I’m getting close, been going through peri-menopause for a couple years. I can take running hot or cold, I can take the emotional swings …but what I really hate is the damn weight gain, mostly in my chest (not in a good way).

    All I wanna do is eat my emotions but now those calories are sticking lol

    • Dee Kay says:

      It’s my chest that has seen the most gain and it’s not in a good way. I have definitely gained weight all over but when I see my chest in photos I understand the concept for breast reduction for the first time. However, I won’t undergo surgery that I don’t medically need. I do, however, need to get re-fitted for bras at Nordstroms and get me some new ones.

    • H says:

      I went from a 34DD to a 34DDD. I have to special order bras. Plus the weight gain? I went from a US 4 to an 8. Growing old isn’t for the squeemish.

    • Mollie says:

      Have you tried taking DIM? It evens out the hormones and it was a godsend for me to keep the weight off.
      Lots of DIM brands out there, and I’m sure they are all fine, but get mine on Amazon and will never, ever go without it again.

  10. Sherry says:

    I don’t get hot flashes anymore, but it seems like every day something changes with my body (externally & internally). Every day is a new adjustment. It’s always a relief when you can talk about it.

  11. MrsBanjo says:

    I’m 38 and perimenopausal. My ob/gyn didn’t believe me because of my age despite the fact that my mom went through menopause around 40. This is one reason why it’s important to talk about it. It was so frustrating.

    I’m also really thankful that my MIL is the queen of oversharing. Nothing fazes my husband largely because of that.

  12. Tiffany says:

    Yet we are suppose to coddle and make men feel special if/when they become impotent.

    • JANAK says:

      God forbid a man not be able to have an erection, they got right on that and came up with a solution called Viagra. But menopause? All a doctor will tell you is that It’s all natural, every woman goes through it, and every woman’s different. Thanks a heap.

  13. Harryg says:

    Men have menopause too! They have hormonal changes too.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      Trans men go through menopause. But as your comment comes off as “DON’T FORGET ABOUT US MEN TOO,” I doubt that’s who you’re talking about. Cis-men don’t go through any kind of menopause, as it’s specifically tied to menstruation and the reproductive hormonal changes that come with its decline.

      Cis-men’s hormone changes are vastly different. How about not trying to detail the discussion.

      • Hikaru says:

        Hear! Hear!

      • Egla says:

        Actually men have a thing called andropause. It has something to do with the reduction of production of male hormones and usually can led to definitive impotence. Most men go through that unscathed but some suffer big physicall and phsycological problems and never recover. It’s not talked enough in fact and most men suffer in silence. As it hapens late in life (50-60) and it’s that time when usually their wives are in menopause it’s overlooked as “my wife doesn’t like to have sex anymore” and is avoided as a problem

    • Jaded says:

      The main issue with “male menopause” is a decrease in testosterone but that can be easily remedied. They don’t go through NEARLY the hell many women do.

      • isabelle says:

        eh…their cancers risks increase much like us and they have a lot of other symptoms, moody and effects their immunity. Weight gain, fat gain, loss of muscle, bones loose density. It isn’t talked about a lot but they do have a lot of symptoms and we pass it off as the “mid life crisis. Also it isn’t just testosterone problem other hormones are also effected. Most men never get treated because they are completely unaware it evens happens.

    • isabelle says:

      Yep–its called Andropause and they may start theirs earlier than we do.

  14. maggi says:

    I’ve always been a sweaty gal by nature (and lots of hard work) so I thought the hot flashes would kick my ass.
    waddaya know, I’m 51 and other than Flo making a rare surprise visit, not much to notice on the old perimenopause path. Must admit, I am far less tolerant of bullshit than I used to be. Some might chalk that up to menopause but it feels more like wisdom.
    I feel for the people who have a rougher go than me but it isn’t always like that. Another part of making this a topic for discussion is to acknowledge the potential problems but also not demonize another part of a woman’s experience. Sometimes, and for this gal, menopause is a gradual decrease is paying for goddamn tampons.

  15. fifee says:

    When I was in my 20’s I worked with a woman in her late 40’s / early 50’s. Whenever she had a hot flush (what we call them here in the UK) me and the other young girls in our wee room would laugh cos she would literally strip to her camisole, yank her skirt up (no-one could see her unless they walked behind her desk) and just wait it out. Now Im fast approaching that age its not so damned funny!

  16. adastraperaspera says:

    Periods and menopause are the “doing everything backwards and in high heels” fact of life for women. It all needs to be discussed more openly in public, and I’m glad Jimmy went ahead and asked Viola about it instead of just making a nervous giggle and changing the subject.

  17. Dee Kay says:

    As I inch towards menopause (I’m 46 now), I am getting resentful that it looks like I’ll soon be able to stop buying menstrual pads, but will start having to buy incontinence pads and wear them *every day.* UGH. Life is not fair to women’s bodies.

    • Carmen says:

      You may not have to. I went through it more than a decade ago and still don’t have to wear incontinence pads.

    • FHMom says:

      Not true. Don’t worry about that.

    • Veronica S. says:

      My mother birthed three children vaginally and is entering her mid-60s without any urinary tract issues. Genetics/physical trauma can certainly contribute to issues, but it’s not guaranteed.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Kegel exercises.

    • isabelle says:

      Exercise that pelvic floor. There has some studies which state weight training, those glute/hip exercises also help.

  18. Carmen says:

    It’s different for every woman. I was lucky. Except for a few brief and minor hot flashes I had no problem at all.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I might hate you. LOL. Still hot flashing every now and then, still spotting. Want it over.

  19. Jerusha says:

    For those still young, cut back on meat. I went vegetarian at 38. Ten years later periods stopped. That was it, no symptoms, nothing. A study of Japanese women about my age seemed to show that those who ate very little meat had very easy menopauses.

    • Veronica S. says:

      On the flip side, a British study also found it was linked it to a lower age of menopause. Bodies are weird.

    • KidV says:

      I’ve been a low-carb meat eater for the last 25 years and sailed through menopause. At 50 my periods just stopped, no hot flashes, no hair loss, just weight gain in my stomach if I do eat carbs. So….

      • Mollie says:

        KidV, I don’t eat sugar or wheat and that helped me too, I noticed you posted below that you are estrogen dominant. Me too. Do you take DIM? That’s what corrected that for me. No weight issues.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      A lot of it is the phyto estrogens in some plants. It can help with the symptoms.

      • KidV says:

        Exactly. And I’m estrogen dominant so plant based would do the opposite to me that it would with someone who isn’t. I don’t eat anything with soy (not even processed foods), flax, yams, sugar, etc.

        Diet never is “one size fits all”.

      • Veronica says:

        The symptoms of menopause are also overhyped in media in the rare instances its actually addressed. Plenty of actual studies done on menopausal and post-menopausal women suggest it varies radically for everyone. Some women are just unfortunate and get a crappy version, while others have very minor symptoms overall. My mother has an exceedingly easy menopause with only minor issues with concentration and focus, which may have very well been as much about aging than reproductive status.

  20. Mama says:

    “it’s a fact of life” was the comment I received JUST TODAY when I mentioned how hard it is to deal with… no shit, dummy.

  21. Pandy says:

    No periods are AWESOME! Don’t miss that in the slightest. Hot flashes still coming 7 years on … but slightly less. Will prob have them for 10 years. Confession: They are worse than a period.
    Weight gain, skin definitely showing wear and tear! My husband is used to a freezing bedroom and seeing me spreadeagled outside the covers in my sleep lollll. So nice to finally freeze then climb back under warm blankets. He’s really great about turning down the eat for me.

    Viola’s hair is gorgeous. She’s gorgeous.

  22. Steff says:

    I watched my mom go through a tough premenopause and it was no joke. She had anxiety and depression and started behaving and thinking irrationally. Luckily she got on antidepressants and is ok now.

  23. Jaded says:

    I had a hysterectomy at 42 (am now 66) and went on HRT. Two years ago BREAST CANCER so went off HRT immediately. Since then I’ve been in thermo-nuclear hot flash/night sweat/insomnia hell and have tried everything. What seems to work is a herbal remedy called Harmony Menopause extra strength and a mild dose of gabapentin. I still get the awfuls but fewer and weaker. Mr. Jaded has been a prince of a guy – when the flashes started I was getting 20-30 a day and they were PAINFUL. He went out and got me a mini-fan I could carry in my purse and a portable air conditioner for the bedroom. Yes menopause sucks and don’t even get me started on my nether regions drying up.

  24. lubbylou says:

    Don’t all panic ladies – I sailed through the menopause with a single hot flush ever! Mind you, considering what else was happening in my life at the time, it is probably as well.

  25. Sherry says:

    So true! I’m almost 40 and in full blown hell due to a early hysterectomy!!!! I have a good one tho! The hubs prolly knows more about it than me. I think he just wants to be prepared for whatever he comes home too! It means the world to me!

  26. Please someone explain to me why you would need to get an MRI every year?!?!? And does it have to do with menopause? I’ve never had one and I’m really good about the yearly dr visits and gyno checks!

    • Veronica says:

      People at high risk for breast and reproductive cancer. My doctor’s very adamant about me getting tested every few years despite only being in my early thirties because I’ve always had difficult periods. She’d found abnormal cells in my Pap smears at least once by my late twenties, so her eye is on prevention since those diseases can spread quickly before being caught.

    • AbominableSnowPickle says:

      I’m only 33, but had my first breast ultrasound last year. I was having some pain and weirdness, but I also have an extremely strong family history of breast cancers (my mother and both her sisters are all survivors). Thankfully, everything looked okay and I didn’t have to go get a mammogram as well. Nowadays, ultrasound can be very effective in ways that standard mammography cannot, so around here you get an ultrasound first and then a mammogram if you need it. However, I’m still having weirdness, so it’s back to my gyno for more testing but at least it’s not cancer. I’m also suuuper vigilant about doing my monthly breast self-exams, because that’s how my mother’s aggressive type of cancer was found pretty early.

      I’ve never had an abdnormal pap though, and was pretty delighted to hear about the changes in protocol so now I don’t have to get scraped every year^.^

  27. Canber says:

    This woman is so sexy.

  28. Dorothy says:

    Jfc listen to some women making excuses for your woefully ignorant unsupportive excuses for partners reminds me why I’m happily single for life ugh jimmy kimmel wtf what an ignoramus why is this accepted from men grow up yuck

  29. Kendra says:

    Well if men mention something like erectile dysfunction I am sure a ton of women would have the same reaction.

  30. JANAK says:

    God forbid a man not be able to have an erection, they got right on that and came up with a solution called Viagra. But menopause? All a doctor will tell you is that It’s all natural, every woman goes through it, and every woman’s different. Thanks a heap.

  31. Jess says:

    Yes, it’s always OK for men to talk about health issues but not women.

    Last year at a dinner party on my block, I was chatting with 3 male neighbors, one of whom was complaining about his vasectomy hurting. Then his wife came along and joined the group, so I started talking about C-sections (we both had one). The men could not handle it. I called them on their BS. Ridiculous.

  32. Renee says:

    I’m a couple of years into menopause (It started early around 41) & the weight gain is horrible. I have put on probably 30+ pounds doing nothing different. The hot flashes were terrible as was facial hair. I feel like no one tells you how terrible it will be. Luckily, the hot flashes are pretty much done but the weight gain is the worst. Ugh……

  33. Lala11_7 says:

    I’m 51…and haven’t had a period since September…and before that…I didn’t have a period from April until September of last year…Everything has seemed to change…onset of asthma…skin problems that take me back to high school hell…forgetfulness…bladder control…FORGET IT…and the FOOT PAIN?!?!?!


    I thought it was Gout…but it was located on my right pinkie toe…and went down the side…which makes sense…because I’m heavier on my right foot…THE…PAIN!!! Like walking on KNIVES! It started the week before Christmas…and it’s JUST abated now…THANK YOU GOOGLE for telling me all of the hidden thangs that can happen when you go through this…Found out its because fat pads in your foot shrink when you stop making Estrogen…YAY!!!!

    I keep my guy clued in on the physical aspects I’m dealing with…ALL OF THEM…however, I’ve always been a bit…shall we say…high-strung…so I don’t act any differently…LOL…and I’ve always felt like I walk around with ice in my veins…so the hot flashes are welcomed….

    And even with ALL of the physical changes that I’ve gone through…will go through…I still prefer this to my monthly…by the clock period since the age of 12…that was horrifically painful my whole life…except for the 10 years I was on hormonal birth control…