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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

‘Losing grip’: Penny Lancaster on her ‘difficult menopause journey’ and struggle to find a doctor who understood


by Sarah Finnan
29th Sep 2021

Penny Lancaster / Instagram

‘Losing grip’: Penny Lancaster on her ‘difficult menopause journey’ and struggle to find a doctor who understood

‘Loose Women’ panellist Penny Lancaster has opened up about her own menopause journey in the hopes of encouraging more open conversation on the topic.

English model and presenter Penny Lancaster has been praised by fans for an emotional TV interview she gave about her tough menopause journey. One of the ITV lunchtime panellists on the show Loose Women, she spoke candidly of her own personal struggles as part of the programme’s new Menopause Manifesto. 

Telling co-stars Ruth Langsford, Judi Love and Jane Moore that she recently went to see an “incredible doctor”, she admitted that it’s definitely been a difficult journey so far. “I had a few tears with her [Lancaster’s doctor], I was trying to explain what I’ve been going through over the last few months. She said you’ve got to get to a point where you say to yourself, ‘I see you’.”

Hoping to help improve knowledge and encourage conversations around this topic, Lancaster then became quite emotional. “When I joined Loose Women, I’d sit back and listen to you more mature ladies at the time – but now I’ve caught up with you – thinking, ‘Really, is it that bad?’ And never quite understanding it.

“I think that’s half the problem. It’s not until it hits you literally from every angle that you think, ‘This is what you’re all talking about’.”

“We’re so good at hiding,” she continued. “Putting a mask on and a band-aid on the problems, just getting on with life, making sure everyone else is ok – the house is running, the kids are off to school and the husbands – all these different roles that we play and working in between. We forget about ourselves.”

Also admitting that her anxiety “has gone through the roof”, Lancaster – who is married to British performer Sir Rod Stewart – said that she often feels like she’s “losing grip”. 

“When I spoke to my GP, the first thing they said is, ‘Well, let’s put you on an anti-depressant’,” Lancaster told her colleagues. “And I was like, ‘I need something to balance and take the edge off the upset, frustration and anger’. It did help a bit, but it was another band-aid and wasn’t addressing the real problem.

“Fortunately through Loose Women, I got advice to see a specialist [the incredible doctor she mentioned above] and over the last six weeks, I’ve been on the treatment, I’ve come off the anti-depressants and I’m feeling a balance,” she added.

The hot sweats have stopped and though her anxiety still flares up, she’s on her way to a better place. “Being able to talk to my husband is an absolute number one priority. He saw me turning into a different woman. ‘Why are you behaving like that? Why are you arguing about something you would normally just brush off?’ I’d get upset and he’d say, ‘What’s the matter?’ It’s good to talk and get them to understand.

Viewers have commended Lancaster for speaking so openly on the topic, many of whom also thanked her for helping them to “feel less alone” in their own journeys. 

Another of Lancaster’s colleagues Charlene White also tweeted her support, writing, “I’m SO proud of Penny for talking about her menopause anxiety on @loosewomen. A few weeks ago we all sat talking about the signs of menopause – that chat changed the course of Penny’s menopause journey & so many others who were watching.” 

Loose Women’s new campaign hopes to address how menopause is treated in the UK, with the team calling for mandatory menopause training for GPs, education in schools and the abolition of prescription charges for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) amongst other things.  

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