There are certain TV presenters and personalities that resonates with the public, earning one of the “nations’ sweetheart” reputation
One such person is UK’s Holly Willoughby, who in the eyes of the UK public, and us, can do no wrong. And now we have even more reason to love her – she’s joined an ever growing number of high profile women choosing to speak up about the menopause.
Holly has recently celebrated her 40th birthday and in her role as presenter of ITV’s This Morning, she’s also recently interviewed fellow star, Lisa Snowdon. Lisa is 49 and is very vocal about how distressing the symptoms of the menopause can be, and how women need to be supported more during this time of their lives.
The pair were also joined by Dr Louise Newson, GP and renowned menopause specialist
Holly spoke of how she wants to “educate herself” on the perimenopause and the menopause and wants to “go into it without feeling fearful”. She plans to do this by listening to the stories of other women and encourages other women to do the same.
“So I am sitting here like a sponge, this is my next phase of life, this is coming to me and I want to go into this without being fearful. I think the best way of doing that is to listen to other women, hear the stories, educate myself and learn.” Holly told viewers, continuing with “I think this is a really important conversation that we are just going to begin today and that we are absolutely going to continue”.
“Already the response to this has been huge so there are a lot of women out there that have questions…it affects half the population and not many people know enough about it.”
Lisa described the “debilitating” symptoms of the menopause, detailing how she “felt completely out of control” during the early years of symptoms
She turns 50 in a few weeks and is now a passionate advocate for talking about both the physical and emotional symptoms of the perimenopause and menopause.
She told Holly and Dr Newson, “I started about eight years ago 42… I didn’t even know what the perimenopause was! I knew about the menopause – ish – but at school you learn about your periods, puberty, pregnancy, but never was perimenopause or menopause mentioned, so I was completely in the dark and I thought it would happen many, many years in the future”.
“But looking back I think the first symptoms were this depression and anxiety, this feeling of being completely out of control and things I’d usually do every day, I couldn’t do, it just felt very strange, I just couldn’t process things.”
She also tackled one of the most common symptoms – irregular periods, that many women struggle with, saying . . .
“Your menstrual cycle starts changing and becomes really erratic, so some months you just don’t have a period and the next few months you don’t stop bleeding and it’s so heavy and so debilitating you cannot leave the house”.
“You can’t go to work for fear of just bleeding everywhere, just awful. And the pain and anxiety that goes with it.. And the depression.”
“I went to see a gynaecologist and it was never mentioned, ‘Could you be perimenopausal?’ So when I was 42 the doctor prescribed antidepressants and I took them for about six months, but I just knew it wasn’t what I needed.”
“And I was getting these rages out of nowhere, uncontrollable over emotional rages and my poor partner George, he was just like, ‘What is going on?’…”
She went on to say that she couldn’t bear the thought of other women suffering in such a way and wants to use her voice to open the discussion, and normalise it
“I just had the thought of other women suffering and not recognising themselves, giving up work, breaking up with their partners, just not wanting to be here anymore because it is just miserable, so we have to talk about this.”
Lisa also tackled the topic of how male partners can also suffer, and the subject of HRT, which many women have become fearful of
“You said it affects 50% of the global population the men in our lives get affected too… the younger generation need to know, men need to know, people at work need to know, it needs to be talked about it can’t be taboo anymore and HRT was demonised for so long – it is safe to take.”
She’s recently spoken of the support of her partner, coupled with HRT, have made her the happiest she’s ever been.
So cheers to both Holly and Lisa, and the work of Dr Newson!