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Taraji P. Henson Talks Menopause and Mental Health

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Academy Award-nominated actress and star of The Color Purple, Taraji P. Henson is never one to stay quiet on important issues. This January, she’s taking on a new cause for women’s health by partnering with Always Discreet, Procter & Gamble’s bladder-leak protection brand, to encourage and empower women to normalize the important conversations on perimenopause. Here’s what she has to say about “the life stage” not all women are aware about and offers her best advice for anyone going through it.

Why is this partnership and topic important to you? 

“It is a common transitional life experience for women, and working with the brand has been eye-opening. A lot of women aren’t aware of this stage, which can last for years before menopause. They also don’t know a lot about the connected symptoms such as bladder leaks. As a society, we talk about other life stages like puberty and motherhood, but when it comes to perimenopause, the knowledge exchange stops. Once I learned that women are avoiding activities they love because of symptoms such as bladder leaks, I wanted to do something about it. Mental health is incredibly important to me, and although I do not experience bladder leakage, I felt connected to this conversation because I’m passionate about addressing stigma and breaking the silence associated with women’s changing bodies. Talking about perimenopause and bladder leaks is important.”

Are you able to share your own experience with menopause? 

“Yes! Like virtually everyone my age, I’m experiencing changes with my body. Not all of them are fun per se, but they shouldn’t have to be debilitating. The truth is— it’s totally normal and natural. Symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes can really disrupt your day-to-day life, especially when you don’t understand why you feel the way you do. The mental and physical challenges can make you feel like a stranger in your own body. I wish I knew years ago what I know now. But today, we have a chance to change that for all of the young women who will eventually enter this phase in their lives so that they can do it with knowledge and confidence.”

Photo courtesy of Always Discreet

What is your best advice for anyone going through it? 

“It’s natural, and it’s normal. My best advice is to find your tribe and a strong support system. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, whether it’s with friends, family, or your medical caretaker. Suffering in silence is never okay, and the more we share our experiences, the better we can educate each other and younger women so they know what to expect. Ask all the questions you need to get the answers for your journey if you are experiencing bladder leaks. Products like Always Discreet help provide solutions and relief to help you feel prepared, protected and in control.”

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?  

“To remember to always operate from a space of love, even when it’s hard.”

What are you doing for wellness and self-care this year? 

“Learning to create more balance in my life by listening to my body more. I’m also very committed to spending at least three days a week in my infrared sauna, which starts my day in a balanced and peaceful way.”

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