TV PRESENTER Jenny Powell, 54, tells how menopause left her unable to function â and what got her through it
When I was younger, my periods were regular and painless and didnât give me any problems.
Then, at 46, the perimenopause crept up on me and I didnât know what was going on.
My periods also became really irregular, so I couldnât plan anything â going on holiday or even doing yoga were impossible.
Itâs hard to describe how much of a shock it all was.
I wanted to stay at home all the time in case I started bleeding without warning, which made work incredibly difficult.
I remember interviewing Sylvester Stallone at a big event that I was hosting.
I was wearing this amazing dress and all I could think was: âPlease donât bleed.â
I couldnât think straight a lot of the time either, which isnât great when youâre trying to present or interview someone.
I kept it to myself for ages â I isolated myself, got depressed and completely lost my mojo.
I was desperate to go to bed by 7pm most nights and then Iâd wake up every morning thinking: âWho am I today?â which was horrible.
Once I started to open up to my partner Martin [a sports therapist, 48], it made things so much better, especially as heâs a health guru, so he was very understanding.
It interferes with your relationship in lots of ways. Your libido and confidence can be affected, so youâve got to talk about it.
I also told my daughters Connie , and Pollyanna , because I didnât want them to think Mum had turned into an ogre overnight.
Obviously menopause means you can no longer procreate, so I also had this feeling of: âWhatâs my purpose now?â You can feel as if youâre on the scrapheap, which isnât true.
I did my best to cope, but after three years, I was finding it hard to function.
So in June 2020 I went to see hormone specialist Dr Annice Mukherjee, who did some tests.
My iron count was so low as a result of all the bleeding that I had to go to hospital for two iron transfusions via a drip. Dr Mukherjee also prescribed HRT.
I do everything I can to help myself, like hot yoga, a good diet, taking collagen and trying to get good sleep, which isnât always easy.
I lost my dad Leslie to prostate cancer last year, aged 93, so that was a bit of a double-whammy, because grief can affect your hormones.
When I look back now, I wonder how I got through it. I felt so awful, I found it hard to get out of bed.
During Dadâs palliative care, which was obviously impacting my stress levels and anxiety, we tweaked my HRT by slightly increasing my oestrogen.
Iâm always comparing notes with friends who are going through the menopause.
My hair is dryer and thinner, and one friend recommended a hair mask called Amika Soul Food.
It may be a small thing, but it helps to know youâre not the only one experiencing it.
Thank goodness weâre comfortable talking about it now. When I was young, my neighbour threw herself under a train, supposedly because of menopause.
Itâs horrific to think about what women have had to go through. It must have felt like a very lonely place.
I think Iâm coming out the other side. Iâm not as tired now, because my periods have slackened off, so Iâve got my head around the fact this wonât last forever. Iâve also learned to say no.
I can be short-tempered if Iâm tired, so if someone asks me to do something they can do themselves, I say: ânoâ, which is liberating.
Iâm kinder to myself now, too. Iâve been getting aches in my legs and hips for the past couple of months, and when they kick in Iâll have a bath with magnesium salts and read a book.
I would have thought that was too indulgent pre-menopause, so it isnât all bad.
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