Women’s Healthcare Needs to Do Better — Gabrielle Union Has Some Ideas

Fitness

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: Gabrielle Union attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Dinner Arrivals at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Robert Smith/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Gabrielle Union hasn’t made a New Year’s resolution in decades. Instead, you can find her queuing up an ’80s soft-rock playlist and setting fresh intentions at her family’s annual vision board party. “I usually have the aux on that day, which is to everyone’s dismay,” Union tells POPSUGAR in a recent interview, pulling up her Spotify Wrapped and listing artists like Luther Vandross and Ready For the World. During the party, Union tries to focus on the things she wants to attract into the universe, including better healthcare for women.

Having felt the shortcomings of the healthcare system firsthand, Union’s efforts go far beyond a vision board. She’s previously spoken out about her emotional surrogacy experience, the stigma surrounding perimenopause, and her elusive adenomyosis diagnosis. “I didn’t get a proper diagnosis in my fertility journey for years,” she says. “I saw the best IVF and IVF doctors in the country, and nobody diagnosed me correctly until the very end.”

“Nobody diagnosed me correctly until the very end.”

To prevent similar misdiagnoses, Union recently partnered with Clearblue on the new Menopause Stage Indicator — a test that empowers women to discover their likely menopause stage. “What’s great about this is it allows you to advocate for yourself,” Union says, adding that factors like brain fog and tight time constraints can contribute to inaccurate diagnoses. “Having this tangible information right in front of you is something that no one can ignore.”

When navigating her own perimenopause symptoms, Union cites family, community, and lifestyle changes as major sources of support. “The other thing I did that changed everything dramatically was I went on an anti-inflammatory diet,” Union says, detailing how she cut out gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine (although you’ll still see her enjoying a cocktail every now and then).

For fellow moms going through similar hormone changes, Union recommends practicing open communication. “Be honest. Just be like, ‘This is what is happening. It is no reflection on how I love you or feel about any one of you, but these are the things that are happening, and just asking for some grace,” she says. “You’d be surprised. When you lead with transparency, it allows people to respond with grace a lot easier.”

If it were up to Union (and her vision board), healthcare for the next generation of women would be more effective, less lonely, and easier to speak about. “It’s about sharing. It’s about being transparent and talking,” she says. “Let’s break the cycle by talking about it and getting the help that we need.”

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