As Lisa Snowdon, 49, launches the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, she reveals how she battled everything from rage to loss of libido.
Plus, she talks to two women about finding the light at the end of the tunnel.
As told to Rosie Gizauskas & Rosie Hopegood
Waking up at 3am, my heart was racing with anxiety and the bedsheet was soaked with sweat.
All I wanted was the old Lisa back, but I was deep in the perimenopause, aged 47, and felt like I’d lost her.
Around 13 million women in the UK are menopausal or perimenopausal – that’s a third of the female population – so it’s a huge issue, and yet it’s still shrouded in secrecy.
We speak about periods and having babies, but not the M word, and that needs to change.
That’s why I’m so proud to be launching the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign, which aims to make HRT free for all women through the NHS, get a menopause policy that supports staff in every workplace, and to get both women and men speaking more openly about the menopause.
It’s such an important issue and affects not just women but their partners and families, too.
According to the British Menopause Society, over half of women say the menopause has negatively impacted their lives – for 51% this was their sex lives and for 45% their career.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but I became perimenopausal back in 2016 when I was just 43.
The average age for a woman to start the menopause is 51, and I had no idea that perimenopause can begin as early as your mid-30s.
I was wiped out – and my periods became irregular, sometimes light, other times heavy, leaving me bleeding through a tampon in 15 minutes, and terrified to sit on the train to work.
I did I’m A Celebrity! in November 2016, and to cope with my painful, heavy periods my GP put me on the contraceptive pill, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do the show.
The menopause still wasn’t suggested as a cause.
I assumed it was still years away – I didn’t know at the time, though, that my mum Lydia, 68, went through the menopause in her 40s.
In 2017, aged 44, I began to really pile on weight – around 3st over the next year or so – and I was having brain fog, anxiety, and real fits of rage.
In 2018, I went to the doctor for blood tests, which was when I got the bombshell that I was perimenopausal.
According… Brinkwire Brief News.