How I Overcame a Lack of Resources for Black Women in Menopause

This article is part of Health Divide: Menopause and Black Women, a destination in our Health Divide series.

Headshot of Kamili Wilson

Illustration by Mira Norian for Verywell Health; Design by Verywell Health; Photo courtesy of Kamili Wilson

Meet the Author

Kamili Wilson is the founder of Menopause Made Modern, an organization that addresses the information and resource gaps for women of color going through menopause.

Menopause is a challenging stage of life to navigate for any woman, but as a woman of color, finding resources that represent your experiences can be even more difficult.

Getting up-to-date, relevant information, and hearing the stories of people like you, is extremely important for navigating the ups and downs of aging, but all too often, women of color are left out of the conversation.

I witnessed this firsthand at 43, when I found myself in the middle of perimenopause, the transitional period between the end of a woman’s reproductive years and the start of menopause. To this day, I can’t recall whether I even knew what “perimenopause” was at the time, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the side effects this transition would bring.

The first change I noticed was in my periods. I had always been pretty regular, but then, seemingly overnight, my cycles became more frequent. That change was annoying, but it paled in comparison to the changes I was noticing in my mood and behavior. I found myself feeling more irritable, quick to anger, and hostile for no reason. My reactions to things people said or did were disproportionately aggressive, leading me to feel like I was constantly on the verge of losing control.

Kamili Wilson

All too often, women of color are left out of the conversation.

— Kamili Wilson

The hostility I was feeling was incredibly frightening, but I was unable to pinpoint a clear cause. This eventually led me to Google, where I scoured the Internet in search of a reason for all my seemingly unrelated symptoms: acne, mood swings, night sweats, and frequent periods. It was a good six or seven months before I finally put the pieces together and realized that I was probably in perimenopause.

Needless to say, I was frustrated—not least of all because my OB-GYN, whom I had known since I was 13, had never once brought up the topic of perimenopause with me before. This goes to show how menopause and the changes that come along with it are often not discussed openly or thoroughly enough, leaving women uninformed and struggling to find answers on their own.

My OB-GYN directed me to a resource, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, where I could learn more about perimenopause. He also prescribed me a low-dose birth control pill to help me manage my symptoms.

However, due to a traumatic past experience with uterine fibroids, I didn’t want to risk the estrogen promoting further growths in my uterus, so I set out to take control of my symptoms without using hormonal birth control.

Kamili Wilson

Finding resources on menopause proved incredibly frustrating.

— Kamili Wilson

I began monitoring my symptoms and making lifestyle changes based on what I observed (for example, that drinking alcohol in the evening would lead to night sweats), and those changes made a big difference in the quality of my day-to-day life. My doctor also recently prescribed me a low-dose antidepressant to manage some of the emotional side effects of menopause, and that has helped a great deal.

That said, finding resources on menopause still proved incredibly frustrating. There are dozens of potential menopause symptoms that can affect different women differently, so it can be challenging for women to discern what’s being caused by menopause and identify the right treatment for their situation.

To make matters worse, whenever I would search for menopause information online, I was overwhelmingly greeted by images of older, white-haired, white women. This, unfortunately, is all too common in the storytelling and imagery surrounding menopause, and it leaves out the experiences of women of color.

Taking Action

In response to the lack of clarity and diversity I saw in menopause messaging, I created Menopause Made Modern, a blog dedicated to telling my story in a way that was authentic to my experiences with menopause as a woman of color.

Over time, the focus of the blog shifted away from my own story and more toward amplifying the stories of other women, in addition to providing symptom information in a way that’s accessible, up-to-date, and reflective of the many ways menopause can manifest.

Kamili Wilson

My goal is to empower women to take control of their own health and well-being during menopause, regardless of their race, age, or background.

— Kamili Wilson

Although I would love for Menopause Made Modern to one day be a business, right now, it’s a passion project because I don’t want to charge women for information that should be readily available. Women should feel like they have access to credible, objective information so that they can be equipped to have informed conversations about their care with their doctors.

My goal is to empower women to take control of their own health and well-being during menopause, regardless of their race, age, or background.

What I've Learned

The biggest advice I would give to any woman undergoing menopause or perimenopause is to become a partner in your own care. That means educating yourself, advocating for yourself, and doing research to understand all of your treatment options.

For some women, hormone replacement therapy may be the best course of action, while for others—like me—lifestyle changes may be more appropriate.

It’s important to ask questions of your healthcare provider and to seek out a different doctor if you’re not getting satisfactory answers. In doing so, you can take charge of your journey and make informed decisions about your health.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s important to remember that the menopause transition is just that: a transition. It’s not the end of life, and if you have the right resources and support, it doesn’t have to spell doom and gloom.

I firmly believe that my best years are ahead of me, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. I aspire to continue to live the best quality of life that I can, and I want that for other women, too.

By Kamili Wilson
Kamili Wilson is the founder of Menopause Made Modern, an organization that addresses the information and resource gap for women of color going through menopause.