Former 'Emmerdale' actress Patsy Kensit has opened up about her menopause experience and explains why she now wants to help to break the stigma surrounding it
In 2013, actress Patsy Kensit sat down to take part in an interview on ITV's This Morning to promote her autobiography.
The interview was... messy. Her words slurred, her sentences were disjointed and she fidgeted throughout. Afterwards, she was subjected to intense media and online scrutiny, with many people accusing her of being drunk and on drugs.
But it wasn't intoxication that was affecting her. Patsy had just experienced her first migraine, which was a subsequent side-effect of a HRT implant she had inserted the day before. The implant was designed to reduce the symptoms of menopause, which started after she underwent a hysterectomy.
In a piece for The Sunday Times Style Magazine, the former model explained how she was only in her mid-forties when her menopause symptoms began to scare her. Severe memory loss started to affect her daily life, and then her career after that This Morning appearance.
Patsy had previously used a HRT patch but the results weren't as good as she had expected. A doctor, who specialised in hormonal therapy, suggested the implant, which she agreed to try without research. She now urges all women to study all relevant information, saying, "I was so desperate to get myself on an even keel, I accepted his advice without question, which was a mistake I urge no woman to make.
"Always do your research about the side effects of any treatment. I know now that while for many women this implant is a successful HRT option, it wasn’t, as I was about to find out, the right fit for me."
Upon meeting hormone specialist Dr Amalia Annaradnam, Patsy discovered her blood tests were highly irregular. "I had zero progesterone, my oestrogen levels were just as bad, and I was severely vitamin D-deficient. Once my results were back, she called me into her office and said, 'How the hell have you been functioning like this?'
"Well, I wasn’t, clearly."
Patsy was given a hormone treatment in the form of a lozenge, and within a week, her symptoms (including a stutter and memory loss) had disappeared.
Following the ITV interview, Patsy had to rebuild her career – but it also led her down a different path. She now advocates on issues regarding the menopause and she is passionate about changing the narration which surrounds it and women.
"My commitment is to bridge the divide between pre and postmenopausal women, who historically have felt as if we have nothing in common. As a younger woman, I had no idea what was coming, but now I’m proud to be sharing information to educate and inform women of all ages about how to manage this transition without fear or prejudice."
Patsy advises women to speak out and be truthful about menopause, saying, "If I have any advice, this is it: be honest about what you’re going through. Half of all humans will face the menopause, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and the more we give one another understanding and honesty, the more we’ll all benefit."
She set up the Conscious Puberty Instagram page to help build a welcoming community for women experiencing menopausal symptoms. The feed is full of information on different hormones, treatments, lingo and advice – and it does so with humour.
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BRILLIANT from @askdrtami ??? ?Meet Progesterone ? . Progesterone is the valium that bathes the female mind and helps reduce anxiety. Remember, it is the peaceful hormone. . When I had hormone trouble in my early forties, progesterone deficiency was my biggest issue. Progesterone is the culprit when women balancing work and home responsibilities experience increased frustration with the details of life, and need to exert more control to keep their cool. That’s what happened to me. . Progesterone acts on the gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors in the brain (the same receptors sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication, and even alcohol act upon) to produce a calming effect that helps you sleep. GABA is the primary inhibitory transmitter in the brain, protecting our brains from damaging overstimulation. . If you wake up between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. most nights (or open your eyes in the morning more tired than you were when you went to sleep), you have a progesterone deficiency. . Optimal Progesterone Levels ? Give you a good night’s rest ? Help clear brain fog ? Help build bone ? Support normal development of neurons in the brain ? Increase libido ? Improve skin elasticity ? Have an anti-inflammatory effect ? Help prevent bloating and puffiness . ?A progesterone "self test" is available via my book "The Hormone Secret" ~ direct link in bio/profile @askdrtami . ? Progesterone cream recommendation direct link in bio @askdrtami . . www.drtami.com ? Education only - No Medical Questions ~ please speak with your own doctor
As many readers will know, Patsy is the former wife of musician Liam Gallagher. Interestingly, Meg Mathews (who is the ex-wife of Liam's brother, Noel Gallagher), is also an advocate in this area.
Meg set up the website megsmenopause.com in 2017 after she had begun to experience symptoms at the age of 50. She was dismayed at the lack of help and understanding of the condition and so decided to try and break the stigma.
The website deals with everything from vaginal dryness, to HRT, to masturbation. There is an in-depth look at menopause symptoms, while the journeys and experiences of various women are also documented. Menopause-specific supplements, skincare and intimate care products are also for sale on the website.
The age that the menopause will affect a woman can vary, but it usually occurs during the late forties and early fifties. It can cause significant changes in the body with symptoms such as hot flashes and weight gain and can be severely debilitating.
For more information, you can talk to your GP or visit the HSE website.
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