Trista Sutter was on the first season of "The Bachelorette."
Now 50, she says women should talk more openly about menopause.
Sutter also recalled growing up as a latchkey kid of a working mother.
"It shouldn't be embarrassing," Sutter said. "It's something that everyone goes through. Why are we fearful to talk about it? Why are we embarrassed? There's no reason to be."
The conversation took place while Sutter and her friend played a "My Evolving Body" card game, part of a partnership with Tena, an incontinence care brand.
"It's shocking to me how many things we still don't openly talk about these days," she wrote on Instagram. "Literally all women go through menopause, but somehow when we reach that moment in our lives, we just have no clue because no one around us is talking about it."
"I do remember my mother-in-law saying she was having hot flashes," she said. "I don't remember anyone talking about incontinence. I don't remember anyone talking about, like, mood swings."
Sutter said hair loss is one of her menopause symptoms
Sutter said that talking more openly not only normalizes the experience of menopause but can also help women discover the products and treatments that can help them cope with menopause symptoms. Sutter has been experiencing hair loss as part of menopause, and after she opened up about it to friends, she discovered products that could have helped her avoid hair loss, she said.
Sutter's friend, Jenn, said that she wished she knew what a long process perimenopause is.
"I don't think I ever knew that it was about 10 years that we're going to be dealing with this," she said. "I go through the hot flashes, then there's a period of time when it goes away. Then it rears its ugly head, and I'm not done."
Social media has impacted her body image, even as she ages
In another conversation with her friend Atlanta, Sutter talked about the way that the internet has impacted her body image. When she was on "The Bachelorette" in 2003, there wasn't much social media, Sutter said. And yet, she would go onto message boards where fans of the show could post their thoughts on her — ranging from how annoying her baby talk was to saying that she walked like a duck.
"Knowing myself and how sensitive I am, it's just stupid" to read the criticisms, Sutter said. And yet, she couldn't look away.
Since then, being a celebrity on social media has impacted her relationship with her body.
"Unfortunately, I feel like, for me, maybe it's declined a little bit," she said of her body confidence. "But in the same breath, because I've gotten older, I care less. I care what people think, which I shouldn't. Because of social media, it's made me more conscious about my body image."
Sutter and her husband are the longest-running 'Bachelor' couple
Asked to describe how she was raised in three words, Sutter immediately thought of the term "latchkey."
"I was a latchkey child," she said. "I walked home from school with my friends. Then, I would go over to my neighbors' house and hang out with my friends until my mom was home from work. Microwave dinners were always what I ate. It taught me a lot about being independent."
Today, Sutter is raising her own two children: Maxwell, 16, and Blakesley, 14. She and Ryan recently celebrated 19 years of marriage, making them the longest-running couple from "The Bachelor" series.
"He still makes me happy," Sutter wrote to celebrate the milestone. "I'm a lucky girl, but not just because he is a real-life Clark Kent. He's genuine, thoughtful, brave, caring, adventurous, hysterical, kind hearted, clever, and does so much for our family!"
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