Gabrielle Union appeared on Barrymore's talk show to narrate her experience of entering perimenopause and encountering things 'no one talks about.'
Drew Barrymore has never shied away from talking about the less discussed issues women face on her talk show. From having her first hot flash on live TV while hosting "The Drew Barrymore Show" alongside her friends and fellow actors Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, Barrymore has been discussing topics like perimenopause and menopause without any constraints. This time, 51-year-old actress Gabrielle Union joined Barrymore as a guest on her show and the duo had plenty of chat surrounding the mid-life changes that every woman faces.
Union and Barrymore did not bother to hide the transition their bodies went through after perimenopause and how they had a sudden weight gain. "It felt like it happened overnight," Union told Barrymore while appearing on the November 14 episode of the talk show. "It was 27 pounds in what felt like overnight." Then Barrymore responded by sharing her experience during perimenopause, where she felt like her body was getting extremely bloated.
"When I am stressed, the stress hormone called cortisol in my belly gets so bad that I can look anywhere from six to eight months pregnant," Barrymore explained. "It happens quite often to me, and I have to change my diet, really reset everything, and then I get back to center." Union went to visit a doctor to get advice on her sudden weight gain and the doctor told her to maintain a strict diet to maintain her body in the perimenopause state.
"They were like, 'First things first: No gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, no caffeine,'" Union recalled. "I was like, 'Three out of four, I feel like I could try.'" Dr. Kameelah Phillips, an OB-GYN who was also a guest on Barrymore's show, told the pair that weight gain in menopause and perimenopause remains common. "Many of us don't realize that as you're entering your perimenopause transition, you can gain up to 30 pounds," she explained. "We tend to gain this weight for many reasons." The OBGYN mentioned how most women put stress on themselves by prioritizing other people over personal well-being.
"Women are caregivers, right? We start to eat badly. We don't make time to exercise," Phillips explained. "That stress hormone cortisol is just doing too much every day. So, we are going to work to control our weight gain." The two actresses also discussed some other perimenopause symptoms, such as frequent mood swings and realized that not many people address this problem. "Something just felt a little off," Union recalled of entering perimenopause. "All these things, no one talks about it. They'd rather just say that you're crazy or bitter."
"You go through an emotional rollercoaster, and you don't know what's happening, and there aren't indicators there to help it make sense to you, so you just do whatever it is you can to be calmer so that you will be better for yourself, as well as those around you," Barrymore quipped. "I go to the bathroom, and I listen to my favorite sad song, like the song you listen to make you cry, and I just cry and I'm able to release something," Union said, referring to how she grapples with her feelings and emotions.
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Previously, during a US TV discussion for CBS Mornings, Barrymore revealed that she knew she was in perimenopause when she started menstruating every two weeks and had heavy flow like teenagers. "Most of it seems very unfamiliar not just to men but women. I think more women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s are looking attractive, feeling so vibrant, living their best lives. The way menopause has been branded is, you're old, you're done - that's not it!" the actress concluded.