Halle Berry shouts from the Capitol, ‘I’m in menopause’ as she seeks to end a stigma and win funding

Halle Berry shouts from the Capitol, ‘I’m in menopause’ as she seeks to end a stigma and win funding

Halle Berry is joining a group of bipartisan senators to push for legislation that would put $275 million toward research and education around menopause, the significant hormone shift women go through in middle age.

The legislation calls for the federal government to spend more on clinical trials on menopause as well as the hormone therapy that is used to treat hot flashes and other symptoms.

Berry, 57, shouted about menopause outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday. She said it’s a word her own doctor told her he was scared to say in front of her.

“I’m in menopause, OK?” Berry yelled, eliciting chuckles from the crowd. “The shame has to be taken out of menopause. We have to talk about this very normal part of our life that happens. Our doctors can’t even say the word to us, let alone walk us through the journey.”

AP correspondent Margie Szaroleta reports on actor Halle Berry going to Capitol Hill to push for menopause research funding.

In recent months, the leading Hollywood actor has been candid about the painful symptoms she experienced while going through perimenopause, which occurs before menopause when a woman’s estrogen levels start dropping. Her doctor initially misdiagnosed her with herpes, a sexually transmitted disease that both Berry and her partner tested negative for.

“Menopause is not a bad word, it’s not something to be ashamed of, and it’s not something Congress or the federal government should ignore,” Murray said.

The bill is backed by 17 senators — three Republicans, 13 Democrats, one independent and all of them women. Several senators said Thursday they hope the bill will also encourage doctors, women and men to speak more openly about the health milestone all women experience.

While the legislation has cleared what is typically one of Congress’ biggest hurdles — getting bipartisan support — its prospects are uncertain. It’s difficult getting bills through Congress at any time and the challenges are compounded now by the divisiveness on the Hill and the dwindling number of days on the legislative calendar before the November election.

The group of women will need to get buy-in from their male colleagues to make the money for menopause research a reality. Congress is overwhelmingly represented by men.