She has never spoken about menopause. For the first time, breaking her silence on what’s become an important conversation for women’s health, Sudha Murty speaks about the symptoms and how she is dealing with this lifestage of menopause.

Sudha completed her engineering at a time when it was not easy for females to become an engineer and worked for a while. She has two children, son Rohan Murty and daughter Akshata Murty, married to Rishi Sunak, becoming the first lady of the United Kingdom. Back in 1981, it was Sudha who gave her husband Narayana Murthy Rs 10,000 as the seed capital to set up Infosys. The money came from her personal emergency fund. Today Infosys is a ₹ 6,96,066 Cr company. Former Chairperson of Infosys, Sudha Murty’s bestseller books include How I Taught My Grandmother to Read, Dollar Bahu, Mahashweta, besides 30 more across various genres that have been loved by all age groups.

Sudha Murty broke many barriers and myths around menopause. “When you get menopause you should not think it is a disease,” Murty shares breaking her silence on a subject often considered taboo during her growing up. “I should accept that my skin will wrinkle,” she shared candidly in a message to women.
She is amongst the most credible and impactful people in recent Indian history who has built her career from being an engineer to driving early days of Infosys and then becoming a philanthropist. Today she is a top selling author and connects with women across the country in her foundation’s efforts. If more and more women like Murty normalise the conversation on menopause we will have far more awareness and understanding of an issue like this.

She was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, for social work by the Government of India in 2006. Later in 2023, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India. She has founded several orphanages, participated in rural development efforts, supported the movement to provide all Karnataka government schools with computer and library facilities, and established Murty Classical Library of India at Harvard University.

Sudha Murty breaking silence on this issue will go a long way in normalising this all important conversation. Her open upbringing was a big reason why she embraced her pause period easily with dignity.

How did you prepare your husband, the founder of Infosys NR Narayana Murthy for your menopause?
“I told Murthy, incase I am upset for something without reason, think it is my hormone retreat, laugh over it and don’t take it seriously.

There is a general perception around women’s health that it starts and ends with good news aka pregnancy. Menopause and peri menopause have long been taboo topics even though by 2025, there will be over 1 billion women experiencing menopause in the world, which will be 12% of the entire world population of eight billion. Recently a survey done by Abbott showed that 66% Indian women were not comfortable sharing menopause-related health issues with family.”

Your views about hormones, babies and sexual health?
“My father was a gynaecologist and he was the one who talked about menstruation with me,” recalls Murty, who were three sisters growing up.

“I knew very well about menopause. My father used to say… when you hit puberty your hormones are high, so your skin glows, and you spend more time in front of the mirror. A day will come when hormones will be withdrawn and then menopause comes.”

Murty says her dad categorically reminded her that when menopause comes “do not think it is as a disease.”
“I realised it would that time that I would need to work more than normal and stay distracted. I would travel more, walk more and read more. So that’s how he prepared us for menopause. So I knew this and understood how women without this knowledge suffered from it.”

Murty’s dad spoke to them early in their life journey instead of waiting for them to get married and discover on their own, emphasising the role awareness plays in embracing such critical lifestages. “Maybe he explained this to me when I was 22 or 24. He openly talked about periods and menstruation with us and explained how all this is part of hormone balancing and nothing impure. He made us accept that this was very normal and we should not accept what others say in society.”

Were you scared of menopause?
“No, I knew when the hormones started retreating. So I decided to walk and exercise more,” All the preparation paid off Murty says. “I should accept that I might get bufferlies and my skin may wrinkle. I realised I would put on more weight as my hormones are going down. Sometimes you may feel up, or normal or down. When down, I knew I had to distract myself so the moment would pass.”

While she was training herself for this, how did she get Mr. Murthy to be empathetic and get ready for her own mood swings? “When I got menopause both my children were away and suddenly remembered them and I cried. I thought to myself why didn’t I cry when they left for their studies but now all these years later why suddenly I started crying? I realised it was because I was in menopause and I was having hormone retreat.”

  • By Shaili Chopra, founder, Gytree and SheThePeople.