TV presenter Lisa Snowdon has told of her shock at learning she was perimenopausal and said the diagnosis was a “real wake-up call”.
The model, who turns 50 later this month, detailed the symptoms she experienced and said a doctor prescribed her antidepressants, which she knew “wasn’t what I needed”.
Speaking on This Morning, she recounted being 42 and having “no idea”, saying: “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 recalled how her menstrual cycle changed and became “really erratic”, adding: “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?’”
The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant said of being diagnosed with being perimenopausal: “I was quite shocked.
“I had the biggest lump in my throat and was just confused and it was almost like a punch in the stomach because I didn’t quite know what that meant, but I knew that it was a big change. And fertility… a lot of things came into my mind at that time.
“It was just a real wake-up call and I wished I’d known more about it because now, I feel fantastic and I am on HRT (hormone replacement therapy), it’s been an absolute game changer.”
The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally, but symptoms can occur years before this happens, which is known as the perimenopause.
Menopausal symptoms can include memory problems, fatigue and anxiety.
Snowdon was speaking on the ITV show alongside Dr Louise Newson, a GP and menopause specialist, and Holly Willoughby, as This Morning launched a campaign focused on the menopause.
Willoughby said: “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, and I think the best way of doing that is to listen to other women, hear the stories, educate myself and learn.
“So I want to hear your story and what your symptoms were.”
Snowdon said she has found a good balance for her HRT, which also includes testosterone.
She added: “It’s been a game changer. I’ve lost some weight, I got my energy back, I don’t ache any more in the joints, the anxiety has gone, the brain fog, I can talk to you and have a conversation – I remember your names.
“I just didn’t recognise myself (back then) and that’s what was so scary. But I’m back to feeling brilliant and it is HRT.”
Last year the Government announced that the cost of repeat HRT prescriptions in England for people experiencing menopause symptoms will be significantly reduced.