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Given our society’s obsession with youth, it’s no surprise that menopause is a taboo topic.
In fact, people going through menopause feel embarrassed and like they have to hide their symptoms.
Fortunately, a few celebrities are finally starting to open up about what their experience has been going through menopause in an attempt to break the stigma. Below, check out what various celebs have said over the years.
1. Oprah Winfrey
“I’d heard about hot flashes. But I wasn’t prepared for palpitations. And, after my menstrual cycle stopped for good, at 53, I wasn’t prepared to have such difficulty concentrating. Reading, my favorite pastime, became a chore. Suddenly my attitude toward most things was ‘whatever.’ I wasn’t vibrant. My whole world dulled down a couple of notches.”
— Oprah Winfrey in an essay published for Oprah Daily
2. Angelina Jolie
“Regardless of the hormone replacements (HRT) I’m taking, I am now in menopause. I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.”
— Angelina Jolie in an essay for the New York Times
3. Michelle Obama
“I have a very healthy baseline, and also, well, I was experiencing hormone shifts because of infertility, having to take shots and all that. I experienced the night sweats, even in my 30s, and when you think of the other symptoms that come along, just hot flashes, I mean, I had a few before I started taking hormones.
“I remember having one on Marine One. I’m dressed, I need to get out, walk into an event, and literally, it was like somebody put a furnace in my core and turned it on high, and then everything started melting. And I thought, Well, this is crazy—I can’t, I can’t, I can’t do this.”
— Michelle Obama on her Spotify podcast
4. Gwyneth Paltrow
“I think when you get into perimenopause, you notice a lot of changes. I can feel the hormonal shifts happening, the sweating, the moods—you’re all of a sudden furious for no reason. Menopause gets a really bad rap and needs a bit of rebranding. I remember when my mother went through menopause and it was such a big deal, and I think there was grief around it for her and all these emotions. I don’t think we have in our society a great example of an aspirational menopausal woman.”
— Gwyneth Paltrow in an interview for her website Goop
5. Kim Cattrell
“I don’t think it’s shameful. It’s as natural as having a child — it really is; it’s part of life. Physically, it’s part of how we’re made; hormonally, it’s how we’re constructed; chemically, it’s how we work. Like anything in nature: The seed is planted, it grows, it comes to fruition, and after a period of time it starts to change and age, and it’s scary. You wonder, Will I be attractive, desirable, feminine? What is the next chapter of life? I think it’s one of the reasons why it’s so taboo is because we don’t talk about it — it’s too frightening even to talk to a doctor about it.”
— Kim Cattrell to Cosmopolitan magazine
6. Gillian Anderson
“I was used to being able to balance a lot of things, and all of a sudden I felt like I could handle nothing. I felt completely overwhelmed. When I talked to the menopause specialist, she said that she often gets phone calls from female CEOs screaming down the phone, ‘I need help now! I am losing my mind!’ And that’s completely right. I felt like somebody else had taken over my brain.”
— Gillian Anderson in an interview with Lenny Letter
7. Taraji P. Henson
“I would get so low, really, really low, beaten, like never before. You may have those days [when] you’re like, ‘Oh, I just don’t feel like getting out of bed. I just want to sleep in,’ but you don’t feel heavy. I was just starting to feel heavy a lot, [like] suffocating…. It just came out of nowhere.”
— Taraji P. Henson to Self magazine