Ever wondered what goes on inside a woman during menopause? Sure, we know the physiological effects to some extent but do we know the full-fledged outcome of menopause? Perhaps not.
Astonishingly speaking about menopause brings with it a lot of stigma which explains the dearth of women who have openly shared their experience with menopause and the impact it leaves on them, even for awareness sake.
However, among the few celebrities who have broken the curse (think Angellina Jolie, Kim Catrall among others), another A-lister joined the bandwagon and broke the silence by talking about her one-on-one encounter with menopause and how she dealt with it.
Meg Matthews, 51, told the panel of Loose Women that included Kaye Adams and Linda Robson, about how she had suffered through a dreadful menopause—the symptoms of which were so painful that she thought she was impregnated before doctors gave her a heavy dose of anti-depressants for relief.
Socialite and former wife of Oasis's Noel Gallagher, Meg Matthews was upfront and spoke about her menopausal pain and how the only saving grace was self-pleasure. She explained: "I still haven’t got much of a libido. I split up with my partner and the thought of having sex with my partner was really not a big thing. But they have seen scientifically that the more you masturbate, the better it is."
And she was proven right.
"It has worked for me. You basically … it puts a spring in your step. You can get quite dry in your vagina [during the menopause], but it plumps everything up,"
She even spoke how menopause had impacted her overall mental health. She said: "One day I woke up with this feeling of being quite low. All this anxiety hit me. I’m a worrier but I’d get a bill and my stomach would go into this completely knotted panic. And then I couldn’t go out to buy a pint of milk, I got this social anxiety."
Anxiety crippled her from even stepping outside her home and it wasn't pleasant, to say the least.
"I felt completely depleted in my life. I lied [to avoid going out] – I even told people I had glandular fever. There was no obvious reason, I just woke up one day and that was it. They [doctors] thought I was pregnant at first – I kept feeling nauseous, my boobs hurt, I woke up in the morning and when I walked to the toilet everything ached, I had dry mouth syndrome. I was terrified, I thought I was going mad. My periods were always ok, I gave birth in an hour and fifteen minutes, and then one day I was hit with this – it hit me like a train. No build up. I had the night sweats but I didn’t get the hot flushes."
Meg claimed that her menopause went undetecteded despite doctors checking on her.
“I went to the doctors and they went here you are, take these. I took these anti-depressants for about a month – and I knew I wasn’t actually depressed – for me, it was anxiety and worry. I’ve lived quite a life – I’ve walked down a red carpet so I know what it’s like to be nervous. I started looking up the symptoms. There are 34 symptoms and I had 32.”
What made her realize was that the symptoms weren’t limited to her but many women underwent the same pain and physical trauma like she was undergoing.
“I went out there and started talking to other women, everyone started to open up,” she said.
Meg isn't alone. Immobilizing anxiety, hot flushes, erratic mood swings among others are few common threads running across the confessions of many women, including female celebrities who in the past, have spoken about their menopause experiences.
For instance, Welsh TV personality Carol Vorderman, 56, revealed what it was like for her and how menopause had destroyed her completely. On ITV’s Lorraine, Vorderman described how her life had been normal until the menopause started.
“Then this depression hit me—and I don’t use the word depression lightly. This was a blackness where I would wake up—nothing else in my life was going wrong, I’m a very lucky woman, no money worries or nothing like that—and I would wake up and think ‘I don’t see the point in carrying on. I just don’t see the point in life,” she was quoted as saying.
English actress and screenwriter Jennifer Saunders admitted to falling prey to the consequences of menopause that wrecked her self-esteem to bits. She said: "It is fairly brutal and you go through all the accompanying side effects: hot flushes, weight gain, a sense of mourning for lost youth, sexiness and somehow the point in anything. I became depressed, which I ended up getting help with."
We need more women like Meg to speak about their experiences with menopause and be each other's support than couch behind in embarrassment. What do you think?
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