Lorraine Kelly says HRT has helped her sex life – and doesnt care that shes put on weight

Lorraine Kelly, 61, is keen to be more open about menopause and HRT.

Here, she tells OK! about her first symptoms, taking control of her body and the affect HRT has had on her sex life with hubby Steve!

Lorraine, what were your first symptoms of menopause?

I didn’t have hot sweats, but from my late forties I had sleepless nights and was getting gradually lower in mood. I was tired and easily annoyed. I had crippling anxiety, constantly worrying about getting to work on time. I didn’t recognise myself. My husband Steve eventually said, “You need help.” So I listed my symptoms to Dr Hilary Jones at work, who immediately diagnosed menopause.

How did that feel?

I wasn’t prepared for it. No one talked about it. My mum, now 80, never spoke about it. It was hidden and shameful. Thankfully, we’re changing that now. We’ve got to talk to our daughters – and our sons and husbands – because it affects everyone. Some women feel sad about “closing the chapter” on childbearing years. For me, I was lucky to have my daughter Rosie (now 27). We wanted more children but it just didn’t work out, and we never pursued IVF. So I didn’t feel that loss of fertility so strongly. I tried to see it positively – it’s natural to enter another stage of life, and there’s freedom in that.

What has worked for you?

HRT is brilliant. Now I put a patch on my bum twice a week. Within two weeks of starting it I felt better. Steve said, “I’ve got you back again.” I was lucky. Many women are misdiagnosed and packed off with antidepressants. Carol Vorderman said it was immediate the improvement she felt after rubbing her HRT cream into her arm.

Were you worried about any longer term health risks?

After talking to doctors I felt like the benefits outweighed the small risks. You have to take control of your own body and make informed decisions. I decided HRT would stop me from feeling so bad, and offer some protection against heart disease and osteoporosis.

People complain their sex drive drops off after menopause…

That doesn’t necessarily have to happen and you shouldn’t accept that it will. For me the HRT helped everything toddle along nicely in that department. Even if you decide against HRT, there are lots of alternative remedies to help this. You lose your waist as you get older, but HRT helped with this. During lockdown I ate too much, didn’t exercise enough, and I’ve gone up a dress size. But I’m not beating myself up over a few extra pounds. I was never hired for my looks, but I feel I’ve grown into them over the years. Back in the 80s and 90s I looked a right shocker!

Can “leakage” become a problem at this time of life?

Luckily, it didn’t happen to me, but it could happen to any one of us, so for goodness sake, what’s a bit of wee? You pop an Always Discreet in your pants and you’re fine. It shouldn’t be something we’re worried and embarrassed about.

You’ve been married to Steve for almost 30 years. What’s the secret?

We don’t take each other for granted. We go out independently as well as together, we give each other space. We don’t fight much but as Mum always says, “Don’t go to bed on an argument.” Keep talking and being interested in each other. I know nothing about golf, but I’ll ask Steve about it. He still watches me every day on telly, so we’ll chat about that. For our 30th anniversary we’re hoping to go on an adventure together, somewhere different like Mongolia or Greenland. We’re not “showbiz” types, so instead of attending the fancy Bond premiere, we went to a small screening so we could wear tracksuits and drink coffee.

You’re always smiley on TV – can you be grumpy at home?

Not really. It takes an awful lot to get me cross. I’m annoyed by people not being treated well. I work in a very small close-knit team and I’m very protective of them. Some stars are rude, but it’s often their entourage. If they treat my team badly they’re in trouble!

You’re very close to your journalist daughter Rosie. Does she tell you everything?

I’d love to think she does but, of course, she doesn’t because I’m her mum, not her pal. That’s an important distinction. I certainly didn’t tell my mum everything. I can’t wait to be a granny one day, but Rosie and her boyfriend James have a dog, Ruby, so I’m already a dog grandmother. My dog Angus is the son I never had and Ruby is like my granddaughter.

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