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We are too scared to talk about the menopause because it's a non-sexy chat but every woman's going to go through it.

Byline: KATIE COLLINGS Reporter

MICHELLE Heaton has opened up about the struggles she faces while going through early menopause aged 39.

The Gateshead born star had symptoms three years ago - after her ovaries were removed.

The former Liberty X singer took the brave step to have surgery to reduce her cancer risk after tests revealed she had inherited the faulty BRCA2 gene from her dad.

Carriers have an 80% chance of developing breast cancer and a 15% risk of ovarian cancer.

Speaking on Loose Women to promote World Menopause Day this week, she said it all came as a shock - and urged other women to speak out.

Michelle said: "We are too scared to talk about the menopause because it's a non-sexy chat but every woman's going to go through it, whether as early as me or late like my mum.

"Everyone has a different journey. Some women don't have any symptoms, which is amazing.

"Before I went through it I assumed that the main menopause symptoms were hot flushes and headaches because that's what everybody talks about.

"But mine included insomnia. Before the menopause I would just get up and go to the gym but I can't get out of bed because I can't sleep and I feel really irritated and sad about it all.

"Then there's the rage, getting to the point where I'm screaming or crying for absolutely no reason."

Michelle, mum to Faith, six, and AJ, four, had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in 2012.

She said: "My lowest point was after I'd had my double mastectomy and reconstruction and I couldn't breastfeed AJ.

"I had breastfed my daughter Faith and AJ was put on my chest and he was nuzzling. My husband Hugh knew why I was crying.

"It was heartbreaking. You can't do what your newborn baby is searching for because of the choice you made. It was the right choice, but to the detriment of my baby."

In 2014, not long after AJ's birth, Michelle had her ovaries removed. She says Hugh, a personal training manager, has been a big support.

She said: "A lot of couples split during this time. Partners are often not told enough about menopause.

"Hugh copes enormously well. He's very calm and he's good at recognising a shift in me.

"I definitely feel better than I did a year or two ago. It's not easy but the best part of my life is I've got a great husband and great kids.

"I don't think it truly gets better until your body naturally ends menopause. Everyone's got a very different journey and time frame.

"I hope I'll get back to a regular sleeping pattern and have more energy.

"But most of all I hope when Faith is 18 and has the genetic test she doesn't have to go through this."


Michelle, then pregnant with son AJ, with husband Hugh in 2014

Right and below, Michelle Heaton

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 22, 2018
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