Nonfiction

9 of the Best Menopause Books

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Jaime Herndon

Contributor

Jaime Herndon finished her MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia, after leaving a life of psychosocial oncology and maternal-child health work. She is a writer, editor, and book reviewer who drinks way too much coffee. She is a new-ish mom, so the coffee comes in extra handy. Twitter: @IvyTarHeelJaime

Menopause is diagnosed when it’s been 12 months since a person’s last menstrual period. That being said, there’s a period of time (no pun intended) prior to menopause, called peri-menopause, that can last several years—even up to 14 years! It’s a time of dipping and fluctuating estrogen and progesterone, with lovely symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings or mood changes, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, heart palpitations, dry mouth, dry and itchy skin, decreased libido…need I go on? To make matters worse, many people aren’t familiar with the symptoms of perimenopause when it can start, the effects it can have on one’s life, and more—including healthcare providers. That’s why the best menopause books are so important.

Perimenopause and menopause aren’t exactly topics people love talking about, and there’s still a misogynistic, ageist pall over the whole thing as if one’s fertility is the be-all, end-all of their worth, or as if getting older was a bad thing. As someone who earned an MPH in maternal-child health, I know that despite the myriad of courses on reproductive health, I learned zero about menopause; there were never classes about menopause, no lectures about perimenopause, menopause, and health, nothing. Ditto in my health psychology program, despite the fact that menopause can impact psychological and emotional health.

But even if your provider brushes off your concerns (find a new provider) about menopause, there are some great books out there to explore that can provide you with fact-based scientific explanations, encouraging and wryly funny stories, and practical tools to help you advocate for yourself and what you might need to help get you through it.

Here are some of the best books about menopause to check out. Have you read any of them?

cover of Menopause: A Comic Treatment

Menopause: A Comic Treatment by M.K. Czerwiec

Czerwiec edits this collection of comics about menopause, encompassing a range of gender identities, ethnicities, cultures, accompanying health conditions, and much more. The result is an unabashed exploration of this time of life, with all of its aches, pains, embarrassments, humor, anxiety, and resulting connections. Contributors include Lynda Barry, Kimiko Tobimatsu, Ellen Forney, and more.

Cover of The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism

The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism by Dr. Jen Gunter

In this book, Gunter takes on myths and misogyny surrounding menopause, providing factual, science-based information on a variety of topics, including perimenopause, hot flashes, sleep issues, sex, libido issues, mood changes, health screenings, and much more. In an era where everyone is so quick to believe what’s posted on social media, no matter what the topic, it’s important to have fact-based information out there—especially when it’s put into an accessible format that reads like a conversation with a friend. Don’t fall into the fear-mongering; read this book.

cover of It's Not Hysteria

It’s Not Hysteria: Everything You Need to Know About Your Reproductive Health (But Were Never Told) by Karen Tang

Not “just” a menopause book, this book aims to demystify reproductive health and change how we view our bodies and our relationship with health care. It’s also a practical tool that can help you with prompts to talk with your provider, and symptom guides. Tang writes about pelvic pain, menopause, fertility, perimenopause, and many other topics in reproductive health, providing inclusive, matter-of-fact education and empowering readers to be active participants in taking care of themselves.

cover of Pussypedia

Pussypedia: A Comprehensive Guide by Zoe Mendelson and Maria Cornejo

This book, co-written by the founders of the eponymous website, is (as it states) a comprehensive guide to all things…well, pussy, which includes menstrual cycles and menopause, but also a lot of other topics. The information it contains has been fact-checked from multiple medical sources and peer-reviewed sources, as well as examining myths and inconsistencies in health information that have been distorted by gender bias. In addition to providing factual information, the book also shows the reader how to better read scientific material, with the caveat that no one knows everything.

cover of Hot and Bothered

Hot and Bothered: What No One Tells You About Menopause and How to Feel Like Yourself Again by Jancee Dunn

Dunn, a health writer, has written a great book for those of us who are wondering just what the hell is going on here and if it could possibly be perimenopause or menopause. She writes about her own experiences in her mid-40s and being taken by surprise despite her work in the medical communications field. She thought if she was caught off-guard as a medical writer, what about the people who aren’t in the field? She interviews multiple experts and gets research-based information about perimenopause and menopause, as well as the pros and cons of treatments and ways to deal with and manage symptoms. Best of all, she does it with a dry sense of humor that is much needed!

Book cover of What Fresh Hell Is This? by Heather Corinna - all-caps black text superimposed over an illustration of flames

What Fresh Hell is This?: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You by Heather Corinna

Corinna is an award-winning sex educator, and they’ve written an amazing book that is an honest and inclusive resource for anything perimenopause and menopause. Anything you might be wondering, no matter how embarrassing you think it is, they’ve got you covered in this book. It’s a factual, humorous, always honest book that gives you the low-down on what’s really going on, why it sucks so much, and how you can talk with your provider about it. They also explicitly address disabled readers, LGBTQIA+ readers, and marginalized readers, making this probably the most inclusive book on this list. I know I’ve recommended it to many of my friends.

cover of Grown Woman Talk

Grown Woman Talk: Your Guide to Getting and Staying Healthy by Sharon Malone

Malone has written a practical, accessible book, largely with women of color in mind, as she discusses in the introduction, recognizing that their concerns are often minimized or brushed aside by the medical profession, especially when it comes to reproductive health. It’s a hybrid medical handbook, memoir, and encouraging text, combining research, resources, and anecdotes that encourage readers to recognize the power they have in getting the care they need. It’s not a book solely about menopause per se, but it is a book about reproductive health, especially for older people, and not being silenced when you suspect something with your health might need attention.

cover of The Hormone Shift

The Hormone Shift: Balance Your Body and Thrive Through Midlife and Menopause by Tasneem Bhatia

Okay, yes, Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop love this book. But don’t let that deter you. For those who want to integrate Eastern medicine with traditional Western medicine, this book is sure to pique your interest. Tasneem explains what’s going on in the body with hormone changes and how hormones impact every aspect of one’s health—but this can also be mitigated by things like diet, sleep, stress management, and other factors. Instead of approaching menopause as something to dread, she reframes it as an opportunity to see what’s going on in the body and to take better care of yourself. And who doesn’t want that?

cover of The New Menopause

The New Menopause: Navigating Your Path Through Hormonal Change with Purpose, Power, and Facts by Mary Claire Haver

Haver takes it all on in this book, providing readers with an empowering, science-based book that explores everything you could ever want to know about menopause. She discusses a variety of treatments for all kinds of menopause symptoms, how to reduce the risk of other ailments associated with the drop in estrogen, like diabetes and osteoporosis, and provides practical, accessible tools for doctor’s visits to help you get the most out of your care.

Which book will you read first, in between the night sweats, forgetfulness, and mood swings?

If you’re looking for even more books about menopause or reproductive health, we’ve got you. Check out this post on menopause books that don’t demonize aging and this post on books about contraceptives, sex ed, and reproductive justice.