Sarah Lancashire Candidly Discusses Severe Menopause Struggles Amid Award Triumphs

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Renowned British actress, Sarah Lancashire, has openly shared her ongoing struggle with severe menopause symptoms, particularly debilitating brain fog. The actress, beloved for her role as Sergeant Catherine Cawood in the BBC crime series Happy Valley, recently acknowledged her battles with persistent hot flashes, particularly evident during her time at the National TV Awards last week.

Lancashire, now 58, narrated how she had to contend with the discomfort of two fans positioned near her face throughout the prestigious ceremony in a quest to maintain her composure. At the National TV Awards, a remarkable night unfolded for the actress who added two more accolades to her collection, one for the best drama performance and a special recognition award, a tribute presented to her by Sir Ian McKellen.

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Regrettably, alongside the triumphs have been challenging encounters brought on by menopause. Lancashire candidly admitted to instances of forgetfulness and confusion, recounting a recent incident in a grocery store. “It happened out of the blue, standing amid the aisles, bereft of any recollection of my shopping list. And it’s not just recent memories; I’m losing touch with past events that occurred three decades ago,” Lancashire stated.

Trying to maintain normalcy and discretion during her time at the O2 Arena for the National TV Awards, Lancashire enlisted the help of a close friend to alert her if the cameras were heading their way, thereby enabling her to conceal her makeshift cooling setup.

Lancashire admitted to trying hormone replacement therapy in the form of a gel for her menopause symptoms, but found it unsatisfactory, considering switching to a patch variation next. Beyond menopausal woes, Lancashire has publicly disclosed her long term fight against depression in past interviews.

She recollected how bouts of severe depression, dating back to her early adulthood, overshadowed her professional life and nearly curtailed her career beginnings. Because of her fear of judgment and the misconception of mental health, Lancashire said, she felt compelled to suppress her reality, a decision she now recognizes as a terrible mistake.

Menopause, the phase marking the cessation of a woman’s reproductive years typically around the age of 51, signals the commencement of a new life chapter. The transitional phase leading up to menopause known as peri-menopause often begins, on average, at age 46. This period is often fraught with unpredictable or heavy menstruation and the onset of unanticipated physical discomforts.

After a period of 12 months of no menstruation, a woman can consider herself to have passed through menopause. Some women, however, may experience this transition earlier, either naturally or as a result of treatment for another medical condition.

Lancashire’s standing as a public figure has imbued her with the understanding that transparency about personal struggles like depression and menopause, despite being daunting, is incredibly important. While opening up about her diagnosis of clinical depression at age 18 and her ensuant struggles while working on Coronation Street in the ’90s, she shared, “The severity of the illness was such that it left me unable to function and precipitated a breakdown” – a clear dictate of the need for openness and empathy for such battles.