Michelle Obama opens up about her experiences with menopause

Bianca Betancourt
·4-min read
Photo credit: MARTIN SYLVEST - Getty Images
Photo credit: MARTIN SYLVEST - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

On the latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, aptly titled "What Your Mother Never Told You About Health with Dr. Sharon Malone," the former First Lady gets candid with the gynaecologist regarding menopause.

"I have a very healthy baseline, and also, well, I was experiencing hormone shifts because of infertility, having to take shots and all that," explained Obama. "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."

She continued, recalling a hot-flash episode she experienced aboard Marine One. "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,'" continued Obama.

The former First Lady also shared how her husband, President Barack Obama, was accustomed to being around menopausal women due to his executive cabinet being heavily made up of females.

"Barack was surrounded by women in his cabinet, many going through menopause, and he could see it, he could see it in somebody, because sweat would start pouring. And he's like, 'Well, what's going on?' And it's like, 'No, this is just how we live,' you know," she added. "He didn't fall apart because he found out there were several women in his staff that were going through menopause. It was just sort of like, 'Oh, well, turn the air conditioner on.'"

Obama also addressed how she believes that men have no idea about how women's hormones affect their bodies, and that women shouldn't be ashamed of the bodily changes that come with ageing.

"How many men, do you think, could deal with the severest form of cramps? Which literally feels like a knife being stabbed and turned, and then released. And then turned! And then released. And you got to do that, and you got to get up and keep going [snaps]. It's like, go to work, go to school, go play on the basketball court. Every woman who's playing a sport now is doing it through all those circumstances. And I don't know any men who could possibly conceive of what that feels like," explained Obama.

"When you think of all that a woman's body has to do over the course of her lifetime, going from being prepared to give birth to actually giving birth, and then having that whole reproductive system shut down in menopause, right? The changes, the highs and lows, and the hormonal shifts, there is power in that," she added. "But we were taught to be ashamed of it and to not even seek to understand it or explore it for our own edification, let alone to help the next generation."

Listen to the full podcast episode below.

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