Lorraine Kelly has given an intimate and honest insight into her experience of going through the menopause.
The 57-year-old television presenter swapped places with Dr Hilary Jones on Monday’s episode of her ITV programme to be interviewed about her symptoms and how she dealt with them.
She opened the candid segment by revealing a recent survey for Lorraine found that more than half of recipients felt too embarrassed or uncomfortable to discuss the menopause.
By speaking out, she is hoping to help break the “taboo” surrounding frank discussion of the menopause.
Read more: X Factor hit by fresh fix claims
Lorraine said her symptoms started around five years ago when she began to experience symptoms including sweating, hot flushes, exhaustion and being unable to muster any joy or excitement about life.
“I just thought I was tired as I don’t sleep as much as I should as I’m always up far too late looking at things on YouTube and what not, doing my homework and things,” she said.
“I put it down to that. But it was bone tired, not just feeling like I hadn’t had enough sleep. I was actually exhausted.”
Lorraine also said the symptoms were starting to affect her at work.
“I remember thinking to myself ‘I can’t be sitting here talking to Hugh Jackman all sweaty and hot’. Well, you are anyway when you’re talking to him – but I couldn’t be sitting on the sofa with all the symptoms.
“I was getting a little bit narky, I think that’s fair to say, and I was just not feeling myself.”
Lorraine said that while her husband Steve understood what she was going through, she appreciated that wasn’t always the case for everyone else.
“I feel sorry for men as some just don’t know how to deal with it. My husband was great as we always talk about everything so he knew, but I don’t think that’s the case for everybody,” she said.
“I think some women feel they can’t talk about it with their husbands and a lot of men don’t know what to do.
“All of a sudden they see somebody they love change their personality and they don’t really understand.”
Lorraine explained that she spoke to her GP and Dr Hilary and decided to start Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to fight the symptoms.
“It’s just two patches on your bottom and that’s it. You put patches on twice a week and that’s it, so easy – dead easy.” she said.
But then last year, the symptoms started creeping back while Lorraine was on holiday with her husband Steve.
“We had gone away to Spain for the weekend and it was the most beautiful place, a beautiful part of Andalusia, everything was fantastic,” she recalled.
“Life was really good, I loved my job and all that, but there was no joy in my life.
“I felt absolutely down and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I had the HRT patches and thought that was all fine and okay. It was just that horrible feeling when there’s no joy in your life. I was just flat.”
Lorraine said she spoke to Dr Hilary at the time who said the symptoms of menopause can be very similar to those of depression, but after undergoing blood tests she was told what she was experiencing was related to the menopause.
As a result, her HRT dosage was adjusted which alleviated the symptoms.
“It was remarkable,” said Lorraine. “It kicked in very quickly and I just got my equilibrium back and felt lighter. I felt better in myself.
“I would say it was weeks, not an overnight thing, it was gradual, almost like coming out of a tunnel.”
She also upped her exercise, attending gym classes twice a week, and cut down on junk food.
Lorraine and Dr Hilary both acknowledged that HRT wasn’t the solution for everybody and said women should talk to their GP about other available options.
“Everyone is different,” said Lorraine. “One size doesn’t fit all but make sure you don’t suffer in silence.”
However, Lorraine said the treatment had been a “saviour” for her and she saw no reason to stop it – although Dr Hilary said it was possible to start weaning herself off HRT in the future to see if the symptoms returned.
Lorraine said she hoped that by speaking out she would encourage more discussion around the subject.
“We should talk about it and make sure you talk to your husband, partner, mother, big sister… make sure you have that conversation.
“It’s a great time in your life – just another stage of life.”