RALLYING SUPPORT FOR CHANGE PENNY LANCASTER TEAMS UP WITH CELEBRITIES AS THEY SHARE THEIR MENOPAUSE STRUGGLES
There may have been chaos in Westminster last week, but one group of women had a strong, clear message for MPs when they descended on the Houses of Parliament. A host of celebrities, including Penny Lancaster, Lisa Snowdon, Carol Vorderman and Mariella Frostrup, were among the hundreds of women at a rally organi sed by Menopause Mandate, which is demanding greater awareness and accessibility to treatment for the menopause, and to fight for change. During the event, the celebrities read anonymous accounts by women who have struggled with symptoms while also speaking about their own experiences.
CALMING THE SYMPTOMS
When menopause hit former Countdown presenter Carol, 61, in 2015, she said it “floored” her. “Suddenly, having never been depressed, I started to feel very low. This went on for months and was like being in a very bleak, dark hole, with a constant sense that nothing mattered,” she said. Her symptoms were alleviated after she was prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Journalist Mariella, who set up the Menopause Mandate group in the spring with MP Carolyn Harris, said that compared with others, she had a relatively “easy time”.
“However, for two years, I was desperately miserable, stressed to my back teeth and barely able to sleep,” she added. “And for that entire time, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I wondered whether I was developing early-onset dementia, whether I might just be going a little bit mad, and whether, perhaps, this is what ageing was going to be like. I wasn’t happy about that prospect at all.”
Presenter Cherry Healey led a discussion about misdiagnosis, and the fact that symptoms might start in the early 40s, while Loose Women panellist Penny described being prescribed antidepressants rather than HRT. Since its launch last year, more than 1,000 employers have signed up to the Menopause Workplace Pledge, set up by Wellbeing of Women in collaboration with OKUK website, to commit to prov iding menopause support for their employees.