This week on This Morning, Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield had an honest and frank chat with guest Lisa Snowdon about the menopause.
Lisa described her experience of the menopause as ‘debilitating’ and said she is keen to help other women understand and recognise the symptoms of the menopause and perimenopause.
‘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,’ Lisa said. ‘We have to talk about this.’
Lisa, who is just about to turn 50, said that her experience of the menopause started when she was 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.’
She continued: ‘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.’
‘And then 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?…”‘
‘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,’ Lisa said.
Holly, who is 40, said that she is keen to educate herself in preparation she goes through the menopause herself.
‘So I am sitting here like a sponge,’ Holly started. ‘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.’
She continued, ‘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.’