‘They Give Them A Drug And Tell Them To Go Home’


Oprah Winfrey and Maria Shriver are getting real about menopause. Even though nearly all women will experience this change, menopause is still considered to be taboo. Though many women are afraid to talk about it, Oprah and Shriver are shining a much needed light on the topic.

In a new series on Paramount Plus, The Checkup with Dr. David Agus, Oprah and Shriver have an open and honest discussion about menopause, including why many women are afraid to approach the topic. During the candid conversation, the two celebrities get real about what menopause looks like for many women.

Nobody Tells You ‘This Day Is Coming’

In a clip of the now streaming episode, Oprah and Shriver chat with Dr. Agus about why it’s so difficult to talk about menopause. Shriver admits that one reason more women don’t talk about menopause is because they have no idea that they’re even approaching or going through menopause due to all the challenges of midlife.

As Shriver, 67, says, “When women are experiencing menopause in midlife, they’re also experiencing so many other things in their lives.” These experiences can include having teenagers “which is a whole world unto itself,” reflects Shriver. Women may also be working, and even caring for aging parents.

“All these things simultaneously may be causing them to be irritable…stressed…[and] depressed,” remarks the journalist. “So when women go to the doctor with all these different complaints, not only does the doctor not say, ‘Maybe it’s perimenopause or menopause,’ they give them a drug and tell them to go home.”

RELATED: Beverly Johnson Hopes To Change The Way We Talk About Menopause: ‘Why Do We Have To Stay In The Dark Ages?’

Oprah, 68, understands this challenge firsthand. When she began going through perimenopause, the talk show host was misdiagnosed with heart disease. Even though she was hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show at the time and sharing information with women around the world, menopause wasn’t a topic that was addressed.

“There wasn’t still a lot of talk about [menopause]. Nobody told you, ‘This day is coming,’” Oprah says. “But even now, I don’t hear a lot of women in discussion about it. It’s still very taboo.”

Why Shame Keeps Menopause Out Of The Spotlight

Shriver and Oprah also reflect on the reasons why women remain quiet about menopause. They believe that shame and relevancy are the two biggest reasons why people are afraid to approach the topic.

“I think that women feel that there’s a lot of ageism in society,” Shriver shares. “And it’s not only that you may lose your job because of your age, but so many women don’t feel desirable … They feel invisible.”

Oprah agrees. “Relevancy is it and also desirable—that’s a really keyword. You don’t want to go around announcing, ‘I’m at the age where I should no longer be desirable.’ So I think that’s why women don’t talk about it.”

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