Halle Berry Describes the Moment She Says a Doctor Refused to Say the Word "Menopause"

"I thought: 'OK, I have to do what no man can do. I have to say it.'"

Halle Berry speaks during a roundtable discussion highlighting women's health research at University of Illinois on January 11, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Actress Halle Berry is opening up about her personal experience with menopause stigma in the hopes of advancing menopause research, training and education.

On Thursday, May 2, Berry stood alongside a bipartisan group of Senators in Washington, D.C. as they announced new legislation aimed at expanding and promoting menopause studies and awareness.

"I'm here because I'm standing up for myself. Because I know that when a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women," Berry said, as reported by CBS News. "And all women go through menopause."

In a video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, Berry recounted her own experience with a doctor, who she says was unwilling to even say the word "menopause" out loud and in her presence.

Halle Berry speaks during a roundtable discussion highlighting women's health research at University of Illinois on January 11, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.

Halle Berry speaks during a roundtable discussion highlighting women's health research at University of Illinois on January 11, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I was at the doctor three days ago and I went in to talk to him about an issue," Berry said. "And I said to him: 'You know why I’m having this issue, right?' And he says: 'Yes, I know.' And I said: 'Tell me, why am I having this issue?' And he said: 'You tell me why you’re having this issue.' And I said: 'No, you tell me why I’m having this issue."

Berry went on to say that her and her doctor "went back and forth," before she "realized that he wasn't going to say it."

"So I thought: 'OK, I have to do what no man can do. I have to say it,'" she continued. "I said: "I'm in menopause, OK?! That's why I'm having this issue!' And he said: 'Oh my god, I could never say that to you, look at you! You don't look like you're in menopause. I could never say that and if I said that to all my female clients they'd punch me.'"

Berry said that "moment" served as a reminder of why she's "here doing this work."

"It has to be de-stigmatized," she added. "The shame has to be taken out of menopause. We have to talk about this very normal part of our lives that happens. Our doctors cannot even stay the word to us, let alone walk us through the journey of what our menopausal years look like...or our years after that."

Halle Berry and first lady Jill Biden share a laugh after speaking during a roundtable discussion highlighting women's health research at University of Illinois on January 11, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.

Halle Berry and first lady Jill Biden share a laugh after speaking during a roundtable discussion highlighting women's health research at University of Illinois on January 11, 2024 in Chicago, Illinois. 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 2 million women living in the United States enter into menopause each year—an estimated 6,000 women per day.

Yet one 2023 study found that nine out of 10 women have never been educated on or about menopause. According to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, most medical schools and residency programs don’t teach their students about menopause, and 80% of medical residents say they feel “barely comfortable” discussing or treating menopause.

“Nearly one-third of this country’s women are postmenopausal,” says gynecologist Wen Shen, an assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics. “Many of them are needlessly suffering.”

"So when I have these moments—real moments that happen to me—I know that every other woman around this country are having these real moments as well," Berry continued. "They’re lost; they’re afraid; they don’t have direction and they need help."

In a recent Instagram post, Berry wrote that "by advocating for my own health and wellbeing during menopause, I am not only standing up for myself but for all women."

"Today is a call to action for each and every one of us to stand together and demand the care and attention that we so vitally deserve," the caption continued, shared alongside a photo with the words: "Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women."

A post shared by Halle Berry

A photo posted by halleberry on

The new bipartisan bill—called the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women's Health Act—would, if passed, devote millions of dollars to menopause research, public education and efforts to properly inform and train health care providers.

The legislation is sponsored by multiple women Senators, including Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, Republican Lisa Murkowsi of Alaska, Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Republican Susan Collins of Maine.

"So that's why I'm here: I’m here as a citizen of the United States; as a woman who is demanding that our government give us what we need, because we deserve it," Berry continued. "We have ben overlooked, we have been discarded for far too long, and I am so grateful to have a team of powerful, strong, smart women who are saying enough is enough. Because guess what? It’s enough!"

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.