Former Big Brother presenter Davina McCall is once again opening up about her journey with the menopause in a new documentary airing on 2 May.
Davina McCall, Sex, Mind and the Menopause will explore her experience of dealing with both perimenopause and the menopause.
McCall’s first documentary about the menopause, Davina McCall, Sex, Mind and Myths aired on Channel 4 in May 2021.
It challenged the many taboos that are associated with the midlife event, including sex and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Her new documentary is expected to follow the same format and explore the impact of both perimenopause and the menopause on your mind and body.
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming documentary.
What did Davina McCall say about the menopause?
McCall shared her perimenopause and menopause experience with Sophie Raworth on BBC’s Sunday Morning Live, explaining how the symptoms impacted her career.
McCall said: “For me when I lost those hormones – or in fact in perimenopause, the hormones go up and down so you think you’re going completely mad – I felt that it aged me, I felt that I was going to be irrelevant, I felt embarrassed because I’d always been at the top of my game.”
Research conducted for McCall’s latest documentary found that 10% of women with the menopause had left their jobs due to symptoms which equates to 330,000 women in the UK.
It also found that symptoms were not being taking seriously, with 31% of women stating that it took many appointments for their GP to realise they were experiencing the menopause or perimenopause, rising to 45% among women of colour and 42% among women with five or more severe symptoms.
The 54-year old is also raising awareness about the shortage of HRT in the UK.
Speaking about the shortage she explained that if this happened to any other drug it would get, “sorted out immediately.”
She urged GPs to learn more about the menopause and encouraged women who go to their GP to be “armed with information,” so they can advocate for themselves.
What were Davina McCall’s menopause symptoms?
In the BBC interview McCall opened up about her experience with the symptom of brain fog.
Recalling a vulnerable time when she thought she was having, a “brain tumour” she said:
“I’d been in television at that point for 20 years, I really knew what I was doing. I was extremely proud of my list-making and my logistical practicality and the fact that I could multitask, and it just went. I was a mush.
“So when somebody asked me if I was OK because I messed up on a TV programme, I said “yes”, and then when she shut the door and went away, I just burst into tears because I thought, “I’m not OK, I think I’ve got a brain tumour or Alzheimer’s or something. Help me”.“
What HRT does Davina McCall use?
In May 2021 McCall took to Instagram to share the HRT medication she takes for her menopausal symptoms.
In the video McCall explained she uses the Oestrogen patch Estradot twice a week, sticking it to her hip, the Oestrogen gel, which she applies to her upper arm and testosterone cream which she applies to her hip, daily.
Why is there a HRT shortage?
There is currently a HRT shortage in the UK meaning people are unable to access their prescriptions.
HRT provides relief from the symptoms of the menopause including hot flashes, night sweats, low mood and anxiety.
According to NHS data, prescriptions for HRT have more than doubled in England over the past five years, with figures from OpenPrescribing suggesting that there were 538,000 prescriptions issued in December, compared to 238,000 in January 2017.
Celebrities, including McCall have been accused by GPs of adding to the shortage by raising awareness of the medication.
When asked about this by Raworth McCall said:
“I’m not going to feel bad about that, I get really kind of annoyed when people are like it’s Davina’s fault.
“We are actually trying to help women sort out their hormones and live a normal healthy life. There were shortages way before that shortage came out last year.
“Apparently there’s a surplus of hormones in Europe. Why is it taking this long to sort out? HRT is a medicine, if there was a shortage in insulin or another medicine women had to take or men, that would get sorted out immediately.”
What is the menopause?
The menopause is a natural part of ageing that occurs when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months and can no longer get pregnant. The menopause can start between the ages of 45-55, with the average age of reaching the menopause 51 in the UK.
Symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, low mood or anxiety, problems with memory and reduced sex drive. These symptoms can last for up to four years.
Perimenopause is the transitional stage that occurs before the menopause. It can begin several years before the menopause and comes with its own set of symptoms which can include irregular periods or skipping periods, periods that are lighter or heavier than usual, hot flashes, vaginal dryness and needing to urinate more often.
When can I watch Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause?
Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause will air on 2 May on Channel 4 at 9pm.