It’s a positive time: Women open up about the menopause
-Feb 10, Sophie Vokes-Dudgeon, Health -
There was a time when the menopause was never spoken about – something that came to us all but was rarely – if ever – discussed in public. Thankfully, times are changing, and one thing leading that change is the number of outspoken female celebrities who are happy and eager to speak out about their experiences.
These days, being in your 50s is something to be proud of – and the stars in question are as successful now as they were in their earlier years, if not more so. But rather than pretend they’re basking in the glow of eternal youth, these stars, from Davina McCall to Yasmin Le Bon with a whole load of other fabulous women in between, are determined to be open about who they are. And to admit that while advancing age has tremendous up sides, there can be a few downsides too (hello, hot flushes!).
We take a look at the honest and inspiring quotes we’ve been reading recently about how some of our favourite celebrities are dealing with their menopause.
For British TV star Davina McCall, the menopause hasn’t been a negative. “It’s like a rebirth, the menopause,” she recently revealed in an interview, explaining that its onset did result in a big shift in priorities for her – but one that’s been positive. “It’s a weird thing where women go, what do I want? We’ve been selfless, we’ve looked after other people. Women think, ‘I don’t care if I appeal to men anymore, I want to feel amazing in myself, and I want to be the best version of myself I can be.’”
Davina admitted that part of the reason she’s able to enjoy ageing is that she’s had a wonderful group of inspiring women to help pave the path, who were prepared to discuss their own journey – something that many men, she feels, lack.
“Guys think, ‘Am I losing my allure? Where am I going, what’s my job?’ That’s a midlife crisis for a guy. I feel like we get reborn and we are enjoying complete revelation with women – we have so many women to look up to, so many fantastic role models. But men need the same – men don’t talk enough.”
At 58 years old, Lorraine Kelly is one of Britain’s best-loved famous faces and has been talking out about ageing in the hopes of acting as an inspiration to others. Determined to bring topics such as the menopause out into everyday conversation, Lorraine has been very open about the struggles she encountered when her hormones first started changing.
“It must have been about five years ago,” Lorraine said on her hugely popular eponymous morning TV show recently, launching her new campaign, the M Word, which is all about the menopause. “I remember thinking to myself, I cannot be sitting here talking to Hugh Jackman all sweaty and hot… I was getting a little bit narky, I think, I’m safe to say. A little bit like that. Just not feeling myself.”
For Lorraine, the solution was HRT. “It was remarkable – it kicked in very, very quickly,” she revealed. “I just got my equilibrium back. I felt all of a sudden like it was lighter, I felt better in myself. I would imagine it was weeks. It wasn’t overnight. It was a gradual, gradual thing, like coming out of the tunnel into the light. All we had to do was change the dosage. It’s not one size fits all.”
Before turning to HRT, Lorraine admitted she was beginning to feel a bit desperate. “Life was really good, love my job, all of that… but there was no joy in my life,” she said. “I felt absolutely down. And I couldn’t put my finger on it. And I didn’t think it was that, I thought, I’ve got the patches, that’ll be fine. It’s that horrible thing, you just feel there’s no joy in your life – flat.”
Kim Cattrall has been flying the flag for living life to its fullest whatever your age is ever since she won our hearts over with her role as Samantha in TV’s Sex and the City. Keeping up with her younger New York City pals, Samantha gave single women of all ages a spring in their step with her fabulously outrageous antics on the hit HBO series. In real life, Kim is just as inspiring and goes out of her way to say it as it is, whatever it is she’s talking about.
“Literally one moment you’re fine, and then another, you feel like you’re in a vat of boiling water,” Kim said of her experiences of menopausal hot flushes. “You feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you — especially the first experience.”
Kim went through the menopause both as herself and as her alter ego Samantha on TV, and managed to survive in both instances.
Here’s what she learned: “What I would say, which I’ve said to myself and to girlfriends who’ve also experienced hot flashes, in particular, is that change is part of being human. We evolve and should not fear that change. You’re not alone. I feel that part of living this long is experiencing this, so I’m trying to turn it into a very positive thing for myself, which it has been, in the sense of acceptance and tolerance and education about this time of life.”
Yasmin Le Bon
Supermodel Yasmin Le Bon is another star who is happy to celebrate getting older, and feeling pretty good about it too. At 53, the British supermodel still looks every inch as gorgeous as she ever did, and although the years are passing, she insists inside she feels as young and vibrant as ever. In fact if anything, life is improving as the years go by. “I feel pretty good: calmer, less judgmental of myself. I feel that I could be stronger physically, but that will just take a little more work. I am learning to be patient and not push myself too hard.”
Like the rest of us, of course the menopause hasn’t passed Yasmin by, but she’s equipped herself with the tools she needed to face the challenge head on. “I take bioidentical hormones and have also addressed a thyroid issue which has really helped. But my mood was still dark. I started taking Lumity – a health supplement that has a very subtle effect. A few weeks later my three daughters (Amber 26, Saffron, 24 and Tallulah 21) all commented on my calm state. My mood was so much brighter and my muscles, which are normally so painful have been less tense. Like everyone, pressure can get to me. I suppose I am very sensitive to my moods because really all I have ever wanted is to be a calm, graceful hippie, but with a more extensive wardrobe! Of course the reality is somewhat different. I’m more vocal than I ever used to be, but I’m a hell of a lot nicer. There are no magic pills, but we can sometimes really help ourselves in small ways.”
As the amazing Edina in everyone’s favourite sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, Jennifer Saunders has given every woman over 50 the excuse (were it needed) to behave outrageously whenever they want. But in real life, Jennifer is keen to be just as inspirational with her open approach to talking about her experiences with the menopause. Hers came on suddenly, shortly after successful treatment for breast cancer following her diagnosis in 2009.
“It changes everything, it changes your metabolism, your energy levels, your skin, your hair, everything. It was quite astonishing,” she admitted. “I don’t feel any less intelligent,” she added. “In fact I am probably more confident. I feel much more positive and confident for my own abilities of things.” Now, having passed through the menopause, the actress insists that while life after menopause lives up to the cliches, she feels better than ever and just as capable as before.
“All the things I used to make jokes about are so true – just your place in the world and how you feel about yourself, your general feeling of sexiness, your libido. It’s an indefinable something that you don’t have anymore. But for me I feel completely able that I can do what I want to do.”
Did you enjoy this? Here’s how one of our fabulous clients coped with early menopause, this is why an expert thinks that perimenopause can be a positive time in your life, here’s the one type of exercise that all women over 35 should consider adding to their workout routines.
Lede image via Instagram