These 7 Celebrities Are Smashing the Stigma Around Menopause
Pretty much everyone with ovaries goes through menopause eventually — it’s a natural part of aging for women and anyone who menstruates. But like many women’s health issues, menopause doesn’t get enough attention in the media. That’s why it’s so refreshing when celebrities open up about their experiences and help break the stigma around menopause. Check out these seven celebrities who are putting their platform to good use and helping to normalize this natural stage of life.
Oprah Opens Up About Menopause
When Oprah started going through menopause, she first mistook the symptoms for something much more serious: heart disease. She revealed on her blog that her symptoms included heart palpitations and years of sleepless nights: “For two years I didn’t sleep well. Never a full night. No peace. Restlessness and heart palpitations were my steady companions at nightfall.”
Luckily, it turned out these symptoms weren’t related to a heart problem — they were signs of menopause. She praises this wake-up call for helping her learn about her symptoms and how to manage them.
Gwyneth Paltrow Gives Perimenopause a Shout-Out
Gwyneth Paltrow has been very open about her experience with perimenopause (the menopausal transition), which she began at age 47. Perimenopause symptoms can include intense mood swings, hot flashes and a drop in libido. Paltrow says she manages symptoms partly by eating healthy, staying on top of her sleep schedule, exercising and staying hydrated.
Seeing the lack of high-profile menopausal women in society, Paltrow spoke up to normalize this health issue. “Menopause gets a really bad rap and needs a bit of rebranding,” she said in a video she posted online. She talked about the need for more menopausal women to set an example in public life.
Michelle Obama Recalls a Hot Flash on Marine One
Michelle Obama spoke about menopause for the first time in 2020 on her podcast. She explained that her symptoms involved night sweats and hot flashes that subsided after she started taking hormones.
She vividly described having a hot flash while traveling with her husband and then-President Barack Obama. “I remember having one on Marine One,” she recalled. “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.” She said that her husband wasn’t too fazed by it, as several women on his staff were also going through menopause at the time — yet another reminder that this experience is very common.
Emma Thompson Brings Humor to Hot Flashes
Emma Thompson is known for being outspoken, so it’s no surprise that she got completely candid about her experience with menopause. During an award speech in 2014, she joked about her menopause-related overheating: “It’s such a cold night. You know, it’s the first time I’ve been actively grateful for the menopause.”
With this little wisecrack about her hot flashes, she showed that there’s nothing shameful about this hormone transition — and that even award-winning celebrities at the top of their game have the same frustrating symptoms as the rest of us.
Kim Cattrall Talks Menopause On-Screen and Off
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall shared that talking about menopause made her feel empowered. “Millions of women are going through it,” she said. “But it can be very confusing and isolating. However, women should note that there’s nothing shameful about menopause. They should speak more about their symptoms to also educate younger generations on what’s to come later in life and how to prepare for it.”
She said that nothing truly prepared her for starting menopause, even after she portrayed the experience of hot flashes on screen for an acting role. But she emphasized that she was able to work closely with her doctor to manage her symptoms.
Gillian Anderson Calls for an Honest Conversation
The beloved actress Gillian Anderson has talked openly about her experience with menopause for years. Back in a 2017 interview in Lenny, she encouraged people to be more honest about menopause.
She noted that because it’s not talked about enough, many women feel ashamed of their symptoms. “Admit, freely, that this is what’s going on,” she said. “So we don’t feel like we’re going mad or insane or alone in any of the symptoms we are having.”
Whoopi Goldberg Cracks a Joke to Call Attention
Whoopi Goldberg addressed her menopause experience in her standup routine — and called attention to the lack of resources given to women’s health issues. She questioned why modern medicine provided so many effective treatments for erectile dysfunction, but hadn’t yet effectively cured hot flashes.
Goldberg has continued to talk about menopause on her talk show The View, including commenting on how menopause can affect sex and intimacy. Vaginal dryness as a morning talk show conversation topic? Yep, Goldberg went there — and that’s the kind of transparency the menopause conversation needs.