Stacy London shares her mission to give menopause a makeover

"We need to reconsider the way we perceive menopause culturally because, frankly, it just isn’t that terrible a thing to talk about," the CEO of State of Menopause tells "The View."
9:23 | 07/21/21

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Transcript for Stacy London shares her mission to give menopause a makeover
Please tell us why -- why this? Because I don't think we've seen you since the pandemic, and I know that part of what you have been working on is -- is this, but why was this such a meaningful time for you? Yeah. I mean hi, whoopi. It's lovely to see you. It's lovely to see all you ladies, but one of the biggest things for me, I think a lot of us experienced during the pandemic aside from, you know, the fear, the grief, the real sadness we're all experiencing, we all get to think about where we're going next, and for me, I really wanted to do something around middle age, and that menopause is something we don't really talk about. People feel ashamed about it. They think that it's some sort of weird, ageist issue when it really is a health issue and because I experienced really severe menopausal symptoms, I couldn't go on hormones. I thought about the other people who can't go on hormones, and I started talking about the symptoms. I see. Stacy, I was in menopause for about 20 years. Yeah. So I know a lot about this topic, and I'm going to say, this is not the sexiest topic to go for. It's not the hippest, and you're very hip. We know that. So why are you putting yourself out there like this? Yeah. Well, I appreciate that, joy. I mean, the compliment about being, you know, fashionable and sexy, but that's kind of the problem, right? Menopause is not considered either of those things, and frankly I think it needs a makeover. Culturally, educationally, in terms of the kind of care that is available to people experiencing menopausal symptoms, and, you know, the fact is even saying that it's not sexy or not fashionable is part of the problem. I mean, it just gets such a bad wrap when this is, you know, a phase of hormonal health that most women don't even know is coming. This is as much about education as it is about care. Well, the sweating -- we're referring, Stacy, to the sweating part. The sweating is not sexy. The hot flashes. Here's the sexy part. You start ripping off all your clothes because you're hot. That becomes sexy. It's a double-edged thing, isn't it? Yes. Okay. Exactly. I would say honestly, you know, I saw -- if dolly parton can get into a bunny suit, why can't we strip when we're hot? You really have to think about it in those terms, like, I am hot, and, you know, we need to -- we need to reconsider the way we perceive menopause culturally because frankly it just isn't that terrible a thing to talk about. We talk about every other area of reproductive health. We couldn't let kids go through puberty without talking about it. We wouldn't let people go through pregnancy or even infertility issues, and yet when it comes to menopause, there is just this, like, hysterical hag association with it. Not no more. Well, Stacy, you mentioned this a couple of times while we have been chatting basically saying that menopause is rooted in ageism. What do you mean by that? Can you explain that? Yeah. Well, gendered ageism, you know, because there's a prehistoric notion that is perceived through a male lens that women are past their expiration date if they can no longer give birth whether through chronological age or surgical menopause which could be a hysterectomy or removing your ovaries, but the idea -- or medical menopause if you have had cancer or chemo. But all of these things are about reducing us to our reproductive health and that doesn't make any sense to me. That has nothing to do with a person's worth, and also maybe you can't have children. Maybe you choose not to have children. Maybe you're a gender nonbinary. There are so many reasons we don't have children to be judged about having this expiration date by no longer being able to carry a child iologically is ridiculous, and honestly even before the 16th century and before that, it's been all male doctors who have been, you know, sort of making menopause out to be a disease, an illness instead of a natural part of our hormonal health journey. So yes. It's rooted in ageism because, you know, if you think about Viagra and male hair loss, that's a bajillion dollar industry, and you don't see any of that. We're just now seeing companies come out to help people experiencing these symptoms which can be severe. I'm so glad you're stepping into this space because I had -- anecdotally, one of my friends had to go through menopause due to breast cancer and she said, I started to search for information, and in addition to the veil of ageism, she was in her 30s, and she was, like, I don't fit in. I need to do this, and I remember she couldn't find information. So I commend you for doing this work. 50 million women annually experience symptoms of menopause. So tell us what's the most important things we need to know? I mean, I will -- I'll be honest. There's a lot of important things, right? The first thing is, you know, if you are coming to menopause chronologically like I did, and my symptoms started around 45, 46, but if they started around 39, I would say if you are going to come to menopause through age, not surgical or medical like we just talked about and certainly not in terms of gender affirmation or assignation. You need to start thinking of, hey I'm in my early 40s and I need to start keeping track of things that are symptomatic. So your mood could start to change. Progesterone is one of the first things we start to see decline. That's mood. If you start getting that meno rage or your anxiety goes through the roof or you start to feel depressed or if you have food alleries or super dry skin or muscle fatigue, we don't realize these are symptoms of menopause. Sometimes we can think they're just aging and we conflate aging and menopause all the time. My advice is to start tracking what's happening to you, and just assume that if you are in your 40s whether you recognize it or not, you are probably starting to experience some part of the menopausal transition. Well, Stacy, just to pivot a little bit, you are in a loving relationship with your girlfriend. Yeah. What kinds of struggles have you experienced together in this journey? Well, I think part of the struggle was just connecting the dots, right? You have to have a supportive partner. The one thing I would say is aside from tracking your own symptoms, you need to educate yourself and educate your loved ones because it is -- it can be -- the experience of menopause is so amorphous, right? It could last six months. It could last 20 years as joy said, and, you know, the point is that the symptoms can be completely unrelated and every person experiences them differently. They can -- the severity of them can be stronger or less strong depending on who you are, and the length of time that you experience them is different for every person. So there really is a lot that you kind of need to know about what's happening to you because the most important thing I think in this experience is that knowledge and education are power, right? Menopause is hard, but it isn't hopeless, and you're not you really have to do your research and you have to know that you have options. So for my girlfriend and I, it was really also about figuring out whether a medical option was appropriate for me as I said. Some people choose to go on I could not go on hormones. Some people can't afford hormones or the kind of medical care that other people have the privilege to receive. You know, one of the most important things that I say as well is that you need to know that you have choices. You do not need to see a doctor if you are having menopause and you can find ways to manage it, but if you are going to see a care practitioner, make sure that they have experience in menopause because honestly most doctors do not have a ton of menopause training, and it's super important to know and ask the right questions. You've got to educate yourself, and that's what my girlfriend and I really had to do to talk about what was going on with me. Right, and so the best thing we can say is that for more information, you can go to our website because we're going to let you get to Stacy's website because believe me. Half of this planet is going through it or is going to go through it. Every female does. So we've got to know what we're looking at and how best to really navigate it. We love you. Come back any time. We'll see you soon. Big hug to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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