Davina McCall on Sex, Mind and the Menopause: “Women have been taught to soldier on”

One year on from her Channel 4 documentary tackling the stigma of menopause, Davina McCall is back with another film in which she explores how menopause can affect the mind as well as the body.

Davina McCall on Sex, Mind and the Menopause: “Women have been taught to soldier on”

In Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause, the TV presenter explores how symptoms such as memory loss and brain fog are severely impacting women at work, and takes a look at the latest advances in hormone therapy. The documentary also highlights the importance of women taking HRT as soon as they experience menopausal symptoms, and how hormone replacement therapy has proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and MS.

At a recent press event for the film, McCall spoke out about how women have been conditioned by our patriarchal society to just ‘soldier on’ and deal with discomfort and pain instead of seeking relief from it. She added that this has hindered many women from taking HRT treatment despite suffering symptoms that affect the quality of their everyday life.

“As soon as your symptoms start you should take it [HRT] and in this country, this idea of ‘soldiering on’, I hear so many women saying, ‘I’m just going to soldier on for a few more years’ because that’s what we do, that’s what we’ve been taught to do, that’s what we’ve ben told as women, be strong, do it without pain relief… It’s like, god, no!” the star explained to press.

She added: “We’re embarrassed because we think that people think we want to be younger. You’re not taking it as some youth serum, you’re taking it to feel normal!”

On the health benefits of HRT, she continued: “The longer you take it [HRT], the more significant the reduction of risk is to Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and MS…. it is a phenomenal discovery. It’s not new but this is a big piece of research that [we hope] people will listen to in this country. Because the fact that this research has been out there for a while and we don’t know about it, it is disgusting. [My friend said to me] ‘All this time I’ve been told not take HRT, and actually it’s good for me’.”

According to the NHS, Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment to relieve symptoms of the menopause. It replaces hormones that are at a lower level as you approach the menopause.

McCall previously detailed how she experienced menopausal symptoms at 44 in Channel 4’s Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause to dismantle taboos that surround midlife issues.

“HRT improved my confidence in a huge way,” she reflected,”because before that, I felt like I was disappearing. And I get quite emotional when I talk about it because it made me feel invisible. I’m frightened, I diminished myself, getting smaller and smaller. When I did get HRT, it was like being reborn.

“Menopausal women, we’ve done our jobs for 30s years, we really f*****g know our stuff, and we’re so useful to society. And if we disappear and diminish, we’re losing an enormously important sector of the economy and we’re important,” she added.