Screw over the hill. Women’s brains get upgraded after menopause

Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine: “When you pass through the door to The Upgrade, your ability to see your most positive and authentic self is no longer clouded.”

Amy Cuevas Schroeder
5 min readJul 6


Have you seen Courtney Cox’s spoof on her 1985 Tampax ad? Now 59, she says, “Menopause will eat you alive! … Plus, you get the added bonus of drier skin and bald patches.”

Jokes aside, Cox makes a valid point: Menopause can be f-ing hard. But there’s also a bright side, says Dr. Louann Brizendine, MD, in her book, The Upgrade: How the Female Brain Gets Stronger and Better in Midlife and Beyond. Now that I’m several years into my perimenopause experience, I more than welcome the benefits and upsides of entering our second phase of life.

“The Upgrade” is Dr. Brizendine’s new term for menopause — one that’s about the path to becoming your best deep self. “Maybe it’s a bit grandiose, but if not now, when?” The Upgrade delves into doubts and misinformation about aging in order to help women find our own answers and solve conflicts about how emotions, hormones, biology, and the brain work together.

Who is Louann Brizendine?

Dr. Louann Brizendine MD is a neuropsychiatrist who was among the first to explain why women think, communicate, and feel differently than men in her previous bestseller, The Female Brain.

Inspired by her own experiences and of the thousands of women at her clinic — Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at UCSF — Brizendine’s identification of the good in menopause is groundbreaking. During menopause, she says, women’s brains are reshaped in a way that creates new power, much-wanted clarity, and a laser-like sense of purpose. It’s up to us to seize the opportunity.

Repositioning is everything

As a medical doctor who’s been there, done that with menopause, Brizendine declares a revolution on terminology sorely in need of reframing. “Perimenopause and menopause



Amy Cuevas Schroeder

Unusual VC Editorial Director by day. Founder of Jumble & Flow + THE MIDST! Bylines in Etsy, Minted, Pitchfork.