A Lesson On Seizing Your Upgrade with Dr. Louann Brizendine

June 8, 2022

Dr. Louann Brizendine was among the first to explain why women think, communicate, and feel differently than men. Now she’s on a mission to rebrand the “M” word: Menopause.

A Lesson On Seizing Your Upgrade with Dr. Louann Brizendine

Dr. Louann Brizendine was among the first to explain why women think, communicate, and feel differently than men. Now she’s on a mission to rebrand the “M” word: Menopause.


Louann Brizendine, M.D., is an American scientist, a neuropsychiatrist who is both a researcher and a clinician and professor at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of two books: The Female Brain, and The Male Brain.


  • The meaning behind Louann’s new book’s title, The Upgrade.
  • Why Louann wants to rebrand the word Menopause.
  • The difference between the “transition” which lasts 2-14 years and the “upgrade” which can last the remainder of a woman’s life.
  • Over their lifetime, about 80 percent of black women and 70 percent of white women will develop fibroids.
  • In the female brain, the course corrections come rapid-fire, every day for a duration of around thirty-five years, and the waves cause just enough suffering to allow us to connect with our best selves.
  • Dealing with monthly hormonal waves, our brains become strong.
  • When we are not driven by our fertility we have more clarity and new sense of purpose.
  • The latest research on hormone therapy and how the birth control pill is affecting women over 60.
  • All areas of the brain have estrogen receptors.
  • Our hub of emotion and memory—the hippocampus—is larger in women. So is the insula, the center that processes gut feelings, and the anterior cingulate cortex, the worry center.*
  • How to get off of the “hamster wheel of worry.”
  • Self-doubt is part of being human, but it’s often out of balance in women. We are always comparing ourselves in some way and the reframing we can do to push through.
  • Your body stores trauma and memory, how can you transform what it remembers in the brain?
  • The younger female brain diverts the impulse to stand up for herself and for the
    values she holds dear, biologically trying to impose silence. But during the
    upgrade, the force of the impulse to speak out will feel like driving a Maserati
    for the first time.
  • How many generations will it take to rewire our biological drives?
  • Why you need to reinforce positivity daily.
  • Visibility is wholeness.
  • The more we know the more we ask for.
  • Every human starts as a female.
  • Louann’s research at the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic.
  • Inspirational leadership and leading others to your vision.
  • Women have more empathy circuits allowing for other skillsets in a leadership position.
    There isn’t a single society in the world that has a majority of female leadership. If you break down leadership by the percentage of women holding the highest political offices and executive positions and try to find a society that has pay parity over the life of a career in which women have equal access by most measures to education and capital for success, there isn’t a single country that comes close to a 50 50 power share.
  • In 1993, Congress wrote the NIH inclusion policy into Federal law through a section in the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-43) titled Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research.


(13:54) Women go through a lot of suffering that has to do with our fertility. We go through a lot to be able to have our fertility. And this is the stage where that whole system is ramping down. So the cool thing about it is on the other end you feel a little bit like Alice in the looking glass, you walk through the other side. And I wrote the book and I called it The Upgrade because I want women to know there’s a whole lot of good stuff waiting for you. On the other side of this what can seem like hell for a while. So keep the faith ladies we’re going forward to the upgrade.

(17:20) We have been on this roller coaster wave ladies since we’ve been maybe 10, 11, 12, 13. What’s been going on now what’s happening to us is when that, as that stops, it’s like we’ve been walking along a pathway down along the shore where the tide comes in and it washes connections away. And then it comes out in the builds and back every month was always building back, washing away. And then all of a sudden in the upgrade, you’re walking on a path that’s higher up the hill. That’s really stable. You’re away from that tide line. You’re not getting circuits and things washed away and built back every month. You can stand firmer and see further. It gives you more clarity. So you’re going to find that for the beginning of your second half of life, all of the stability and a feeling of solidity that you can count on how you’re gonna feel day to day and month to month comes. And wow, that is definitely an upgrade.

(19:05) It’s like those Japanese swords that they make are tested by fire. They are hardened and strengthened by incredible heat, and incredible fire. I feel like that’s what happens to us women too, as we go through all of our sufferings and stresses and whatever even tragedies are thrown at us in our lives, we become incredibly strong from those things. And we have incredible stability and things to offer. We have the vision to reach down and to give a hand to our younger sisters and pull them up.

(28:48) It’s important for us women to know that that little part of our brain exists it’s in there spinning around and that there are lots of things we can do about it. On page 201, one of the book I talk about the hamster wheel of worry. And you get into that kind of worry where you’re feeling you’re not good enough and you’re self-doubting and all this stuff. There are specific things that we need to do to work on that. Everybody has this going on no matter who you are, even the most beautiful women in the world, they have this going on all the time under the hood. So there are techniques that we can use. We need to quiet that part down so that we can use the best part of our brain.

(31:03) You have to learn to do the reframing and find the things for you and find the people in your life that help your fire of creativity and self-love grow because that is what’s going to break that hamster wheel of worry so that you can have your best life.

(36:02) Biology is destiny, unless you know what it’s doing to you.  So if you understand that this is happening under the hood for you, then you can say to yourself, okay, I make a choice. I’m not going to just keep my mouth shut, be a people pleaser. And I am going to stand for my values and speak up. Even though I know it has a cost. And I think that women feel the cost that fertility cycle in your life, you feel the cost. And the reality is, so what if it costs you something, but you also gain something on the other side. So I encourage younger women to stand firm, speak up, speak your mind. The cost is probably the cost for us is not usually as big as we fantasize that it might be. Just do it.

(42:07) And I hope you ladies can help push that agenda to flip it to both older women, being the wise women that are reaching back for their younger sisters and trying to help them, help show them the way and show them the love.


Dr. Louann Brizendine

Dr. Brizendine was among the first to explain why women think, communicate, and feel differently than men. Now, inspired by her own experiences and those of the thousands of women at her clinic, she has a message that is nothing short of revolutionary: in the time of life typically known as menopause, women’s brains are reshaped, for the better, in a way that creates new power, a bracing clarity, and a laser-like sense of purpose if you know how to seize it.

Structural and Functional Characterization of Aromatase, Estrogen Receptor, and Their Genes in Endocrine-Responsive and – Resistant Breast Cancer Cells

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2017 Jul 1. Published in final edited form as: Aromatase and estrogen receptor α (ER) are two key proteins for the proliferation of endocrine-responsive and – resistant breast cancers. Aromatase is an enzyme involved in the conversion of androgen (such as testosterone) to estrogen (such as 17β-estradiol).

Recent Publications

WHI strives to improve health through research on risk factors, prevention, and early detection of serious health conditions, so postmenopausal women thrive.

Why Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect More Women Than Men? New Alzheimer’s Association Grant Will Help

Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women and two-thirds of the more than 15 million Americans providing care and support for someone with Alzheimer’s disease are women.

Perception and Deception: Human Beauty and the Brain

Human physical characteristics and their perception by the brain are under pressure by natural selection to optimize reproductive success. Men and women have different strategies to appear attractive and have different interests in identifying beauty in people.

The Body Keeps The Score

Published by Penguin Random House Q. You’ve been working with traumatized children and adults for many years and have seen significant changes in how mental illness and trauma are treated. What have you learned from neuroscience, attachment research, and interpersonal neurobiology about how to help children and adults recover from toxic stress?


Quick Links What are you looking for? Browse our top stories, interesting events, and other highlights. @UCSFHospitals 4h When Cheryl Broyles was diagnosed with #glioblastoma, she wanted to live past 15 months. 22 years later, she’s still here, managing recurrences with her UCSF neuro-oncologist. “As brain tumor survivors say, ‘KOKO,'” she says.

* [1] The Female Brain xiii





A Lesson On Seizing Your Upgrade with Dr. Louann Brizendine


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Joy Now