The transition into menopause and perimenopause marks a significant phase in a woman’s life, characterized by both physical and emotional changes. However, the journey is often compounded by a phenomenon less discussed yet profoundly impactful: gaslighting. This form of psychological manipulation, where a person’s experiences and realities are invalidated or questioned, can deeply affect those navigating through menopause. The striking story of Halle Berry encountering disbelief and misdiagnosis from her doctor during her perimenopause vividly illustrates the broader issue many women face.


Halle Berry’s experience sheds light on the systemic issue of women’s health concerns being dismissed or misdiagnosed. At 54, Berry sought medical advice for severe pain, only to be wrongly diagnosed with a severe case of herpes, a stark misinterpretation of perimenopause symptoms. This incident is not just about a misdiagnosis; it represents a critical communication gap in healthcare concerning women’s experiences during menopause.   Read her story here at PEOPLE.


Understanding Gaslighting in the Context of Menopause

Gaslighting during menopause and perimenopause manifests in various forms, from healthcare professionals undermining women’s symptoms to societal expectations diminishing the significance of their experiences. The lack of awareness and understanding about menopause contributes to this issue, leaving many women to question their own experiences.


Impact on Mental and Physical Health

The effects of gaslighting extend beyond frustration and confusion; they can have tangible impacts on both mental and physical health. Women who feel dismissed may delay seeking medical care or doubt the validity of their symptoms, leading to worsened health outcomes. The emotional toll of not being heard or believed can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression, further complicating the menopause transition.


The Role of Awareness and Education

Combatting gaslighting requires a dual approach of increasing awareness and improving education on menopause. Healthcare providers need comprehensive training to recognize and empathize with the wide range of menopause symptoms. Simultaneously, creating open dialogues about menopause in society can help normalize these experiences, reducing stigma and misinformation.


Empowerment Through Information

Empowering women with information is crucial. Understanding the biological and emotional changes that accompany menopause and perimenopause can equip women to advocate for themselves more effectively. Resources like The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) offer valuable insights into the diverse experiences of midlife women, emphasizing the importance of personalized and informed care.



The gaslighting of women’s experiences during menopause is a multifaceted issue rooted in cultural, societal, and medical misunderstandings. Halle Berry’s story is a powerful reminder of the need for change. By fostering a healthcare environment that listens to and validates women’s experiences, and by promoting societal openness about menopause, we can support women through this significant life stage with the respect and care they deserve.


Susan Sly

Founder & CEO of TPT Inc.