Michelle Obama: ‘Not a lot of conversation about menopause. I’m going through it’

Michelle Obama’s latest book, The Light We Carry, comes out tomorrow. There are so many great excerpts out there because she always writes about the pulse of the nation. Michelle is 58 years old (and a fellow Capricorn). Like most women in their late 50s, Michelle is going through menopause. And like many women her age, menopause was not a topic of conversation. As she noted, “information was sparse.” Now that she’s experiencing it, Michelle is joining Naomi Watts and Beverly Johnson in speaking up about putting menopause into the conversation.

When PEOPLE sat down with Michelle Obama on the eve of her 50th birthday, the then-First Lady said she was hungry for information —from her mother, from girlfriends — about menopause.

“I want to know what I’m getting into,” Obama said back then, noting with a laugh: “My mom is like, ‘Menopause? Yeah, I think I went through it.’ She doesn’t remember anything.”
Eight years later, Obama knows first-hand, but the information still isn’t as available as she would like.

“There’s a lot we don’t know,” Obama, 58, says in an interview previewing her upcoming new book The Light We Carry, on sale Nov. 15.

“There is not a lot of conversation about menopause. I’m going through it, and I know all of my friends are going through it. And the information is sparse.”

Those girlfriends, whom she used to gather together for regular fitness “boot camps” when she was in the White House (earning her the group’s nickname, “Drillmaster”), have given her more than just moral support during this time of physical change.

“I find that when we get together and we’re moving and we’re laughing, then we spend a little time talking about what we’re going through. ‘What’s a hot flash?’ We have girlfriends around the table who are OBGYNs, who have real information. All of that keeps us lifted up.”

Obama’s workouts have changed. “Some of it is menopause, some of it is aging,” she says. “I find that I cannot push myself as hard as I used to. That doesn’t work out for me. That when I tear a muscle or pull something and then I’m out. The recovery time is not the same.”
Her fitness routine is now focused on flexibility, she says: less cardio, more stretching. “You wind up balancing between staying fit enough and being kind enough on your body to stay in the game.”

In The Michelle Obama Podcast, which launched in July 2020, Obama disclosed that, under her doctor’s guidance, she used hormone replacement therapy to treat her hot flashes.

Elaborating on that decision, Obama says now, “I’ve had to work with hormones, and that’s new information that we’re learning. Before there were studies that said that hormones were bad. That’s all we heard. Now we’re finding out research is showing that those studies weren’t fully complete and that there are benefits to hormone replacement therapy.

“You’re trying to sort through the information and the studies and the misinformation. So I’m right there.”

[From People]

What is it with our moms just “forgetting” what menopause was like? Were they so conditioned to not discuss “wimmen matters” that they actually blotted those memories? It’s like parents telling a kid a shot isn’t going to hurt in the hope that that will somehow lessen the actual pain. By pretending menopause is so inconsequential the hot flashes, brain fogs, irritability, mood swings, hair loss, dehydration, fatigue, and general feeling of becoming invisible to the world seem much less of a bother. No thanks. I do much better when I know the enemy I’m fighting.

There’s a lot of discussion about fitness and health in Michelle’s book. It makes sense since that was her cause as First Lady. I love her approach to it in menopause. She said her goals have changed. Like “instead of having ‘Michelle Obama arms,’ I just want to keep moving.” I think that’s key. I shifted my fitness goal in menopause too. I switched from weight loss to strength. I got much stronger (shout out to my trainer Stephanie the Destroyer!) and the upside is, I ended up losing weight. Look, the shot is probably going to sting, and menopause is likely going to suck. But at least now we can get through it together.

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75 Responses to “Michelle Obama: ‘Not a lot of conversation about menopause. I’m going through it’”

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  1. minx says:

    I love MO, but there’s plenty of information and discussion about menopause. I’m glad she’s talking about it, but this falls under the “Nobody told me about (fill in the blank)” genre. You’re might not be aware of the information until you need it.

    • Amy says:

      This may be true for you, but sometimes even the medical establishment has scant information. I just went through menopause. My doctor literally told me there was nothing to read about it because “it’s so unpredictable. Women don’t know if they’ll be dead in 10 years, so how can we tell them what to expect.” Even when there is information, the medical treatment for it is laughably sparse.

    • DouchesOfCambridge says:

      Oh no, some menopause info is out there, but it is 100% clearly incomplete and general practitioners are not educated enough to truly inform us. Women dont even know the signs of premenopause or can’t even identify them before actually getting into the menopause phase. I’m telling ya, the conversation on menopause is just starting. It will be a big thing in the future and i’m all for it.

      • dj says:

        I went through menopause beginning at 50 and finally feel like I finished (?) at around 55. I told my gyno, that I had been his patient since 18 yrs old, that “I feel like I have blood coming from my canine teeth I’m so irritable all the time.” He laughed and said hear we will put you on HRT. It was so much better than hot flashes and mood swings that it took him awhile to make me stop the pills. LOL. Honestly, I could not find much real medical information re: premenopause, menopause, or post menopause either and I am a trained scientist-practioner.

  2. Jazz says:

    I think Mom’s forget because manopause takes sooooo long (I’ve been at it for 8 years now) that you just start to think this bitchy, boiling hot, blob is who you are now. Amazing to have this conversation and remind ourselves this will pass and we will be our amazing selves again!

  3. smegmoria says:

    I was recently asking my mom about the brain fog. She said she couldn’t remember. Which I kind of thought was funny.

    • NotSoSocialB says:

      When I couldn’t sleep through the night because of hot flashes, I got as sleep deprived as with my first baby, then with my twins. My eldest honestly thought I was getting dementia!

      I must have gone through it early- I was a year without a cycle by 52. 56 now, hot flashes much better but still have about a half dozen most days. Not a candidate for HRT bc of family history.

      • dawnchild says:

        I drifted into mostly vegan eating (sometimes fish and eggs) over the last 16-20 years and I think it has helped me transition through menopause without hot flashes etc (could be just luck too). I do remember an older female professor once recommending vegan diets as something that helps during menopause. Worth checking out the research fwiw.

      • L4Frimaire says:

        I get such bad sleep due to hot flashes. Constantly waking up and exhausted in the morning. Taking tamoxifen has sped up the process and made it worse.

  4. Seaflower says:

    I want her blue shirt.

    On a separate note, thank goodness MO and others are speaking out about menopause. My mum forgot a lot too, and there is so much you think – there something wrong with me – only to find out that its a typical side effect. I’m on body-identical hormone treatments and they are a blessing, but still the brain fog, the mood swings, flooding… its all too real.

  5. Lolo86lf says:

    As a person who doesn’t menstruate I really don’t know what to say about menopause. The only things I hear is how horrible it is to have a period every 30 days and the relief that menopause brings to a woman’s life. I do believe that our society puts a lot of emphasis on women’s ability to create another human being in their wombs and once they lose that ability they are treated with less respect. That’s so unfair.

    • Kik says:

      Gentle reminder that when a health condition doesn’t apply to one, it’s usually best NOT to weigh in with contrary things one “hears.”

      • chi chi says:

        This is ridiculous, who made you the thought police? They said nothing assuming and nothing offensive, simply they haven’t heard much about menopause as a whole, and more about the horrors of periods. People are allowed to express their thoughts.

      • shiba says:

        Amen sis

    • Amy says:

      Menopause did not bring me relief. It brought awful, debilitating symptoms that I had to fight to get treated, because my doctors were so ignorant about it.

    • Jaded says:

      I had a complete hysterectomy, including ovaries, in my early 40s and went on HRT. Fast forward 20 years to 2016 and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Had to go off HRT immediately. The results were not pretty. I got thrown into instant menopause from hell — 20 to 30 thermonuclear hot flashes a day, constant insomnia, sex drive gone, brain fog, dry skin, drier lady bits. I’ve managed to find alternatives to HRT that have given me some relief but for a couple of years life was miserable. I still get a few *mild* hot flashes a day but nothing like before. I’ve found some supplements and creams containing mild phyto-estrogens and use estriol vaginal inserts. What I found helpful was going to a naturopath who gave me lots of good information on mitigating symptoms naturally.

      • Carmen says:

        I had a hysto at 38 due to multiple fibroids, but the doctor kept my ovaries intact because they were a healthy set. So I didn’t have to have HRT and the years after my hysto have been some of the best of my life. No periods, no debilitating cramps, just plain good health. I’ve been damn lucky and I appreciate that.

      • dj says:

        @Jaded I empathise and am so sorry you had it sounds like the worst of it. Women do not get enough respect for the physical things we have to go through (if we decide) to give birth and then afterwards menopause. Our stuff would make men go running mad. I forgot about brain fog, no sex drive, dry skin and dry vagina. Vaginal suppositories work wonders for vaginal dryness. They are no treat but the alternative is worse if you are sexually active.

    • Coldbloodedjellydonut says:

      I have endometriosis (and something with a fallopian tube which is likely going to result in surgery) and I’ve been on medication for it for years (Aspen Dienogest, aka Vissan) which equals no periods and it has been the joy of my life to not have periods. They didn’t bother me much when I was young, but once I went off birth control and the endo got a foothold it was brutally painful and not having them was a life saver.

      I haven’t headed into menopause yet, but it’s not far off. I hope it’s relatively gentle with me and I’m super grateful that it’s being studied more now with good interventions. Women deserve to be studied and treated properly, unfortunately it’s been a man’s world when it comes to scientific research.

  6. Brassy Rebel says:

    This is news to me that people are still going through menopause at 58. At 58, it was a decade behind me. So, I like Michelle’s mom, wasn’t giving it a lot of thought anymore. My condolences to anyone who has been at it for years.

    And there’s way more conversation now than there was when I went through it. Even doctors were like, ¯⁠\⁠_⁠(⁠ツ⁠)⁠_⁠/⁠¯

    • Normades says:

      I kinda thought that too. I am 10 years younger than MO but already have friends my age that are totally done. Everyone is different though and I believe my mom had a late menopause (though she says she can’t remember).

    • JanetDR says:

      My last period was at 58 1/2 and I have to say that nothing horrible has happened to me so far (7 years later). I’ve never had a hot flash for instance.
      My hair is thinner, but I attributed that to the stress of caring for my mom at the end of her life and it seems to be turning around. I’ve been trying a lot of different things for that but think adding saw palmetto has been the most helpful.
      My mom couldn’t really recall much about menopause either. I asked because my gynecologist was concerned because I hadn’t started by 55 and he thought something else might be going on.
      I am overweight and my acupuncturist says that can help buffer some symptoms. But so far, so good!

      • Coldbloodedjellydonut says:

        Thinning hair and overweight – have you had your thyroid checked? If you have, please check whether they tested your thyroid antibodies (both peroxidase & thyroglobulin). Hashimoto’s is a very common thyroid disease and it doesn’t always show in your TSH, until it kills your thyroid, that is (autoimmune condition where your immune system thinks the thyroid is a foreign body).

        Make sure they do both antibodies, one can be high while the other is not.

      • JanetDR says:

        I appreciate that @coldbloodedjellydoughnut! My levels were creeping closer to the line where they would do something about it. I tried a script but it gave me horrible spots. I learned that many people get that from the generic med. Now I mostly eat an anti-inflammatory diet which has made a lot of improvements, including thyroid numbers.
        I don’t think that I have had the test you mention – I’ll ask!

  7. jo73c says:

    My mum is the same. I asked her – why didn’t you tell me about any of this [horror show that is menopause] that I’m about to go through, and she just said, ‘Oh, I don’t think I had it that bad – didn’t really have hot flushes and stuff.’

    Now I’m wondering if my mum even knew about all the other ‘stuff’ herself. Maybe no one told her either!

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Not everyone has it that bad or experiences all the symptoms. If your mum had an easy time, chances are you will too. It’s not like you have to be told when you’re having a hot 🥵 flash. You will know!

      • Carmen says:

        Not all symptoms or lack of them are hereditary. I remember my mom went through enormous mood swings during menopause, lying on the sofa crying every night. Menopause didn’t affect me emotionally one way or another.

  8. Lala11_7 says:

    Menopause…like Covid…attacks the autoimmune system…and the autoimmune system has NEVA been studied enough in Medical teaching & research…so that is one of the POSITIVES that’s coming out of Covid…the Medical industry worldwide is now giving attention to autoimmune issues and THAT fact will bode well for WOMEN when it comes to autoimmune disease & Menopause…because worldwide autoimmune disease affects women by a 75% difference than men…

    I know so much because I have been dealing with Menopause for the last 6 years & severe autoimmune disease that has COMPLETLY changed my life for the last 2 years.

    • K says:

      This 💯, Lala

    • Petra (Brazen Archetyped Phenomenal Woman) says:

      @Lala11_7, do you have a book or site recommendation?

      • Lala11_7 says:

        I have ALWAYS had an understanding of the autoimmune system since I had life threatening DVT in my 20s from birth control pills & suffered from miscarriages due to that…I NEVA got proper HC in my 20s/30s due to racism/sexism/expense so over the last 30 years I’ve had to be my OWN health advocate & when I tell you I have saved my OWN life due to that diligence…I’m not joking…

        However…I will give you a BRILLIANT documentary to watch that JUST left Netflix on November 6th…but it’s available on streaming to buy for $10….it’s “Unrest” & it was made in 2017…it’s about chronic autoimmune disease & you might think that has NOTHING to do with Menopause…but if you look at the HUGE umbrella of issues that falls under autoimmune disease…you will see the similarities in symptoms that showcase in chronic autoimmune disease & Menopause…that understanding will HELP you in managing Menopause issues & will give you the KNOWLEDGE you will need to navigate Menopause for yourself…EVERY autoimmune system is different…so if you have the knowledge about how the system WORKS…it will help you customize…Unfortunately dealing with severe Menopause issues..Long Covid & severe autoimmune disorder…I can’t read like I used too…because my BRAIN no longer works the way it used to…which is the most DEVESTATING thing for me…but documentaries/YouTube have been LIFESAVERS for me regarding this…

        Learn EVERYTHING you can about the autoimmune system (just type in autoimmune documentaries & books in Google and make sure the info is from knowledgeable sources) & THAT will I empower you to take care of yourself properly.

      • Petra (Brazen Archetyped Phenomenal Woman) says:

        I’ll check out “Unrest.” I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

    • Coldbloodedjellydonut says:

      Lala, no! I already have multiple autoimmune conditions, ugh, this scares me. Going to read downthread for your book recommendations.

      Edit: read your comment about the documentary Unrest, I’ll be watching it. I’m so sorry about your experience with healthcare. Mine has been sh!t, too, but racism is not a factor for me, it’s absolute trash that it’s a factor for anyone. I’m so enraged on your behalf.

    • Fascinating Fascinator says:

      @lala – thank you for sharing this information. I never knew this. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been through, and appreciate you sharing so we can all learn and improve our lives. I also have an autoimmune condition and it’s shocking how much no one knows about…..anything that affects women.

      Big thanks and much love to you.

  9. K says:

    I think it goes back to misogyny. I mean..at it’s root. For a long time menstruation was treated like a disease and something to be ashamed of. “Don’t walk across my fields ” said every medieval farmer ever. And I think also men were mad about us bleeding yet not dying. I really believe this is why the word crazy was used in hushed whispers. Well we need studies for menopausal women by women. I think there is alot that can be learned.

    • Chi says:

      Not to bring up kind of a separate issue, but I also think it’s good to know that treatment for breast cancer puts young women into early menopause, and they are not able to take hormone replacement therapy. So often information about menopause just says, “and then I discovered HRT and it worked out.” It would be great if information also included dealing with side effects without hormones too.

      • SarahCS says:

        I couldn’t agree more @Chi, my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer when she turned 40 and while she is now clear she’s having an absolute nightmare with menopause thanks to the drugs she has to continue taking. Even worse, the different brands bring out slightly different symptoms so she doesn’t know exactly what she’ll be dealing with until she collects her prescription. There are a couple that she now knows to try and avoid but otherwise its lucky dip. She is part of various ‘young’ breast cancer groups and has found some good advice but she’s still dealing with symptoms of menopause every day.

    • goofpuff says:

      Agreed. People still treat menstration as dirty thing, especially in misogynistic households. You’re not supposed to talk about it or even tell your ten year old girl about. And when she freaks out because nobody said anything (this is the days before the internet) and is the first girl in her friend group who gets it (so no warning) and thinks she’s dying…..you give her pamplets. PAMPLETS!!!

      ugh…my parents.

      I want us to talk more about menopause because there is so much misinformation out there. If we act contrary, we’re menstrating. Once we stop menstrating, they blame menopause as a way to ignore our concerns.

  10. Normades says:

    Perimenopausing here and it’s not at all what I thought it would be. I thought going into menopause you’d just get your period less and less until one day yer done. Nope! My cycle is totally off, I get my period more often, the bleeding is heavier and PMS is worse. Plus this can go on for years.

    • Jess says:

      Normades, I’m with you. I think I’ve been in perimenopause for about 5 years. I was lucky enough to always have mild and regular periods until that hit. Now I bleed and cramp horribly. I also started getting hot flashes and adding depression on top of my anxiety around that time too. I went on lexapro to deal with the depression and anxiety and supposedly it helps with hot flashes too – since I did that I get warm flashes but they’re bearable. I’ve tried the bc pill and an iud for the bleeding/cramping but nothing has been perfect. I have a lot of fatigue and some brain fog, but I also had Covid a year ago and so it’s hard to tell if it’s long Covid or menopause related.

    • CEC says:

      When I was perimenopausal I had unusually heavy bleeding during periods. I attributed it to sliding into menopause, but it got so heavy I saw my GYN. A big polyp in my uterus was found by ultrasound. I had it removed/and an ablation, which took care of it. A common side effect of that procedure is no more periods, so that was a bonus for me.

      Please don’t write off heavy bleeding as just something to expect as you approach menopause! Get checked.

      • Twin Falls says:

        Agree as I’m almost 47 and over the last year or so my periods have gotten shorter in duration and lighter overall. Also, I don’t get any cramps anymore. I wouldn’t assume an increase in pain or bleeding is something normal.

      • sparrow says:

        Exactly, CEC. As I’ve written at the end of this thread, some women think a lot of stuff going on in their 40s and 50s must be menopause, and they delay action or endure stuff that isn’t anything to do with it. This is sometimes because they are led in this direction by their doctors, who all too easily fob them off with “you’re menopausal”. My sister’s abdominal pain was exactly the same. Told it was peri menopause. It wasn’t. It was a nerve issue that got worse because she at first believed her crap GP.

      • Normades says:

        Very very true. And that is solid advice but a heavier flow is common too.

  11. AppleCart says:

    Since everyone has such individual experiences. Personally, I am 51 and have had maybe 2 real hotflashes. Of course both times at work events. And emotionally I feel ok. No matter how much I diet or workout. My belly is like, nope not going anywhere. So weight loss is a struggle. But other than no period this last year. I really feel the same. Unlike my Mother who was a raging lunatic and blamed menopause for lashing out at whoever and whenever she felt like it when she was my age now. And it honestly scared me so much when I grew older thinking it was going to be a nightmare.

    I can’t say its the worst thing in the world to happen.

    • Carmen says:

      I don’t think the weight gain is connected to menopause. It’s the metabolic changes everyone goes through at middle age. Your metabolism goes south while your weight goes north and you have to eat half what you used to eat just to maintain your weight because you no longer burn the calories as efficiently as you used to. My cousin told me her fifties were the decade when she lost her waistline. I kept mine well into my sixties, but alas, there’s not much of it left any more.

  12. Happy_Fat_Mama says:

    Today I am greatful for Michelle Obama and all the good things she puts out into this world.

  13. MsIam says:

    For me its been weird because I had a hysterectomy at 44 and everything I’ve read kept referencing the absence of periods. I started hot flashing at about 55 so I’m guessing that’s when it started. I haven’t had the blood tests done to make the official call, I don’t think its covered under my insurance. Anyway, I turned 62 this year and its like a switch flipped and I don’t know if it’s on or off. Stiffness and achiness off the charts. I get what she is saying about being kind to your body, even if you are a healthy fit woman like Michelle. I started doing chair yoga and it seems to help.

  14. C-Shell says:

    I had a total hysterectomy in my late 30s and had to take estrogen to stave off instant menopause. It was wonderful. I felt good, my weight maintained … fast forward 10 years and a shitty dr said it was time to go off the HRT because of the risk of breast cancer and heart disease, citing that cockamamie study of elderly nurses. She plunged me into menopause. The hot flashes were EPIC, 40-50 per day and night, and I was almost constantly in conference rooms full of men trying to negotiate multinational deals. I went back to that idiot dr with a Wall Street Journal article debunking her old study and she told me she didn’t have time to read. To combat my debilitating hot flashes, she prescribed Effexor (an antidepressant), saying it would also help with mood swings. LOL, I wasn’t HAVING mood swings, but the Effexor was horrible. My husband accused me of abusing drugs because of my hyper activity and insomnia. So, I changed medical providers and weaned myself off the drug — it took a month.

    TL;DR — depending on your generation, the info about menopause was patchy and often dead wrong. I’m happy that Mo is talking about this and elevating the conversation.

    • Nicegirl says:

      CShell your spirit in this comment is so inspiring to me. I’m sending loving support your way. It’s a really hard fight and I’m really proud of you.🖖

      • C-Shell says:

        Thank you, NiceGirl! My younger sister is going through it now, but wears an estrogen patch that seems to be working. I wish they’d had those back in my day!

    • Trillion says:

      Thank you so much for commenting C-shell. I took myself off my FemRing because the price shot up from $0 to $150, but I just couldn’t hack it. I just re-started the FemRing and am so so so much happier and so is my husband, who’d been trying to sleep wrapped up like a mummy while I had all the windows open and a fan blowing 10 inches from my face.$150 well spent.

      • C-Shell says:

        Whoa, the FemRing price is $150??!! LOL, I totally relate to the windows open, fan blowing in my face! I used to carry around one of those little hand-held fans constantly. Now, I’m one of those weirdos who sleeps with the ceiling fan on while the heat pump is cranking through the winter. Being a menopausal/post-menopausal woman is not a game for sissies.

    • Jaded says:

      Sorry you went through meno-hell C-Shell. Me too. I was on HRT for 20 years after a total hysterectomy and I LOVED IT. Then I got breast cancer, bye-bye HRT and I felt like utter hell for 2 years. What I recommend to anyone in the same situation is see a naturopath. My regular doctor didn’t know much about natural phyto-estrogens but my naturopath has been a godsend and got me onto some supplements that really helped mitigate symptoms. I also convinced my doctor 5 years after my surgery to give me a prescrip for Vagifem, also a godsend. I have a happy hoo-haa once again.

  15. Nicegirl says:

    ‘I do much better when I know the enemy I’m fighting’ is a great line

    and lady, it hits.

    Menopause train comes early on my line right, I’m with Michelle in the struggle too. I’ve had lots of surgeries and at nearly 48 am glad to still have my ovaries as most else of my reproduction organs had to be evicted right, but I’m glad to have them, for hormonal reasons etc. But what you’ve heard about surgical choices of our reproductive organs really can cause even earlier onset, possibly caused by what they call a ‘surgical’ menopause. As in my case, I still have those girls in there (why yes, thank you, I do have a particularly ‘strong pair’ lol I’m laughing at the men who think their pair is the strongest I can’t even 😂) .

    Drs quickly touched on the mostly unknown and not well researched possibility with me that I may experience early onset menopause but it was not a real concern we could have done a damn thing about anyhow right ladies. Before my uterus was ultimately removed, we’d previously removed :my Fallopian tubes, cervix, then on and on as necessary; it caused an even earlier onset of menopausal symptoms for me. I’m RX’d an estrogen patch, which is helpful for me- really has lessened the bummer af symptoms of menopause that you mentioned Hecate. It took over a year post uterus removal to get them to really hear me about the early menopause and get the hormone patch going. I’m with you all.

    I echo these recommendations of smart exercise for both the physical health aspect, but also for the mental wellness portion. I love the practice of ‘swimming in blue spaces’ I started this summer at the river near my home, and I will be doing it a lot when I go to Hawaii later this winter ladies, (!!!!!!!!!) my first trip there ever, to a retreat in the rainforest. Exercise has really helped me to get a handle on my health during menopause, too.

    H 💕 🖖 air 🤗 your way rn lady

  16. CommuniKate says:

    Every women going through menopause, about to go through menopause and Michelle Obama need to read and/or follow Dr. Jen Gunter.

  17. elizabeth says:

    I’ve been in Perimenopause for a bit, and if there hasn’t been enough conversation about menopause, then the conversation about perimenopause is even worse. “What Fresh Hell is This?” is a book that I really enjoyed that’s amusing and has a ton of great information about perimenopause and menopause in it.

  18. Lizzie Bathory says:

    I’m reminded of the Golden Girls episode, “End of the Curse,” which is about Blanche starting menopause.

    “Well, my whole childhood, I kept hearing about the curse. How when I was 13, I was going to get the curse. I was absolutely terrified. The year of my 13th birthday, I slept with the lights on all year. Oh, I was sure there was a witch behind every wisteria. I didn’t go out on Halloween. I was a wreck. But the year went by and no curse. Then the next year went by, no curse. Then finally, when I was 15, Mama took me to the doctor because I still didn’t have the curse. And he said, ‘Blanche, do you mean to tell me you still don’t have your period?’ I said, ‘Well, of course I have my period, you fool. I’m not a child. I’ve had my period for almost two years. It’s the curse I don’t have.'”

  19. Lisa says:

    Menopause Manifesto by Dr Jen Gunter – thorough book on menopause-maybe Dr Jen Gunter will send Michelle a copy

  20. sparrow says:

    Be careful what doctors, even female doctors, will file away under peri menopause and menopause. One of my sisters was told the excruciating pelvic pain she experienced for two years in her 40s was her “unique” (WTF and how dangerous) peri menopause. It was an abdominal nerve entrapment issue. Thank heavens she now has her diagnosis and a pain management specialist. It took two years and lots of her own money to diagnose, including a laparoscopy every consultant said should have been paid for by the NHS and the first direction she was sent in to eliminate possibilities. Her GP was her surgery’s women’s health guru and a self professed expert on menopause. Nothing is unique; it was a total fob off. No man would have been told to grin and bear pain, possibly for decades. As her gynaecologist said, menopause is many things, it can be horrible but it should never be excruciating pain. Go careful, lovely women on here. Be your own advocates.

    • Bromptonviewer says:

      This! My mum started having some what would MUCH later be diagnosed as vascular issues with her feet as early as 60 when she was about 5 years into menopause. The doctors said it was simply water retention and sweating due to menopause. She was underweight with low blood pressure and impeccable cholesterol so her complaints of heart palpitations also dismissed as “anxiety over hot flashes”. She wasn’t having hot flashes at the time. She started having a series of mini strokes which led to devastating vascular dementia and eventual death from a heart attack. She actually had a VERY treatable genetic vascular syndrome which if she’d been a man would have been tested for immediately when the feet issues were raised. NEVER accept a dismissal as menopause for anything abnormal without asking what tests would be ordered if these symptoms presented in a man.

  21. Trish says:

    @lala thanks for sharing the Unrest doc, im going to buy it. I have UC which is autoimmune and I’m in the middle of menopause. I feel like I’m dying most days. I’m always looking for info and I appreciate MO for talking about this. We should all make this a more popular discussion so we all don’t feel alone and like we’re going crazy.

  22. Trish says:

    Ladies, Unrest is free on YouTube rn, someone uploaded it. I’m watching now. Just wanted to share.

  23. Jen says:

    I’m not quite there yet. I’m about 5 years from when my mom started having symptoms of perimenopause. She was on the younger side, so her doctor had her on HRT for 5 years. My mom said that in retrospect, she was manic due to the hormonal changes, which meant she was ridiculously productive professionally, but also probably annoying the F out of her colleagues. I know she was spared hot flashes, but I doubt I will be. My personal thermostat has kinda always sucked. She didn’t talk to me about more intimate symptoms, though.

  24. JT says:

    of course menopause isn’t talked about. we’re always told to stay focused on being as youthful as possible, completely ignoring an inevitable stage that is a part of life.

    • Gelya says:

      Isn’t that the truth! Even my own Mother tells me I am worthless because I am old. I told her she is older than me so she needs to think about that.
      The ignorance of this natural life stage is not only ignorant it is dangerous.
      We are truly going through reverse puberty. My husband told me this is drug withdrawal. That estrogen is a drug and our body is no longer producing it. Makes a lot of sense. My husband is not a doctor. He’s a construction worker! Even doctors are “Duh” dumb when it comes to our new life stage. Most doctors are doing more harm than good.
      I don’t want a face lift at this stage in my life. I want a days rest from fatigue, brain fog and itchy skin.

      • Nicegirl says:

        @ Gelya please note: nothing about you is worthless ok. If I can share anything with you, it’s that one FACT.

        Gelya = extremely valuable

        🖖!!!! 💕 💗

  25. Joanna says:

    I asked my mom about menopause, what her symptoms were. She said she doesn’t
    Remember. My period slowly started going away until I didn’t have one for many months. I’ve had a tubal ligation so I knew I wasn’t pregnant. I thought I went through menopause but then I got a period last month so I guess I’m in peri menopause? Idk. Still don’t know. Bring a woman is so much fun lol. Maybe I’ll try one of these books people are recommending!

  26. TG says:

    Dr Jen Gunter has an excellent book on the topic that came out only last year, The Menopause Manifesto. Michelle should have Dr Jen on her podcast! Women deserve real expertise on this topic from someone who has actually treated thousands of women with menopause and done the research to write the book. I’m sure Naomi Watt’s is a nice person, but she is an actor. It’s time we started turning back to actual experts for advice.