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Michelle Obama opens up on menopause and female body

Chelsea Kiew

The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Washington  /  Sat, August 15, 2020  /  03:38 pm
Michelle Obama opens up on menopause and female body

Former US first lady Michelle Obama smiles during a visit to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in London during her tour to promote her memoir, ‘Becoming’. (Agence France-Presse/Ben Stansall)

Former United States first lady Michelle Obama is not afraid of getting personal on her eponymous Spotify podcast.

The third and latest episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast - launched last month - was titled What Your Mother Never Told You About Health With Dr Sharon Malone.

In the episode, which was released on Wednesday, she spoke candidly with Dr Malone, an obstetrician and gynecologist, about women's health, opening up about her experiences with menopause, according to Harper's Bazaar.

"I have a very healthy baseline and also, well, I was experiencing hormone shifts because of infertility, having to take shots and all that," the 56-year-old said.

She added: "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."

Mrs Obama also recalled a hot-flash episode while she was aboard 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'," she said.

Fortunately, her husband, former US president Barack Obama, was accustomed to the bodily changes his wife was experiencing - many women in his Cabinet were older and going through menopause.

He responded in his usual calm manner. "He didn't fall apart... It was just sort of like, 'Oh, well, turn the air-conditioner on.'"

Mrs Obama also talked about how men have little idea of how female bodies work and that women, too, often approach their bodies with mystification or shame.

"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 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 said.

"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."

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This article appeared on The Straits Times newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post