14/03/2017 12:28 GMT | Updated 18/10/2017 09:15 BST

11 Famous Women Get Real About The Menopause

'It is nothing to be feared.'

The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get naturally pregnant. Symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, reduced sex drive and a low mood.

According to the NHS, the menopause normally occurs between 45 to 55, however in around 1% of women in the UK, this can happen before the age of 40.

Here are eleven celebrity women talking about their experiences.

  • Zoe Ball, 49
    Zoe Ball, 49
    Barcroft Media via Getty Images
    "I am hot and hairy. It’s like my last hurrah. Is it going to get better? Do I do HRT or do I have the funny tea supplement?”

    When an audience member suggested she should have more sex to combat the symptoms, she replied: “OK, that’s a good tip. HRT and more sex. I’ll take that."
  • Gillian Anderson, 48
    Gillian Anderson, 48
    Matthew Eisman via Getty Images
    "It was at the point that I felt like my life was falling apart around me that I started to ask what could be going on internally, and friends suggested it might be hormonal…I was used to being able to balance a lot of things, and all of a sudden I felt like I could handle nothing. I felt completely overwhelmed. 

    "Peri-menopause and menopause should be treated as the rites of passage that they are. If not celebrated, then at least accepted and acknowledged and honored."
  • Angelina Jolie, 41
    Angelina Jolie, 41
    Umit Bektas / Reuters
    "I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared."
  • Jennifer Saunders, 58
    Jennifer Saunders, 58
    Mike Marsland via Getty Images
    "It is fairly brutal and you go through all the accompanying side effects: hot flushes, weight gain, a sense of mourning for lost youth, sexiness and somehow the point in anything. I became depressed, which I ended up getting help with.”
  • Tracey Emin, 53
    Tracey Emin, 53
    ANTHONY WALLACE via Getty Images
    "It is a nightmare, an absolute nightmare. It's horrible. And I don't look like that kind of person, you don't put menopause on top of my head, it doesn't associate with me."
  • Julie Walters, 67
    Julie Walters, 67
    Barcroft Media via Getty Images
    "I still get hot flushes. That’s fifteen bloody years. Still, it’s nothing like I did then. Ripping off your nightie and Grant [her husband] thinking it’s something else! No – don’t get any ideas!”
  • Kim Cattrall, 60
    Kim Cattrall, 60
    Roberto Ricciuti via Getty Images
    "Literally one moment you’re fine, and then another, you feel like you’re in a vat of boiling water, and you feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath you.

    What I would say, which I’ve said to myself and to girlfriends who’ve also experienced hot flashes, in particular, is that change is part of being human. We evolve and should not fear that change. You're not alone. I feel that part of living this long is experiencing this, so I’m trying to turn it into a very positive thing for myself, which it has been, in the sense of acceptance and tolerance and education about this time of life."
  • Amanda Redman, 59
    Amanda Redman, 59
    David M. Benett via Getty Images
    "How hideous for women of our mothers' generation, because - while me and my girlfriends will talk about everything under the sun, including the menopause - it was something they didn't discuss. They must have felt so lonely and embarrassed all the time.

    "For me, it's tailing off now. But I can still suddenly go that awful colour when I'm talking to somebody and sweat beads will break out on my upper lip. You're acutely aware of it, even if they're not."
  • Carol Vorderman, 56
    Carol Vorderman, 56
    On ITV’s ‘Lorraine’, Vorderman described how her life had been normal until the menopause started. 

    “Then this depression hit me - and I don’t use the word depression lightly. This was a blackness where I would wake up - nothing else in my life was going wrong, I’m a very lucky woman, no money worries or nothing like that - and I would wake up and think ‘I don’t see the point in carrying on. I just don’t see the point in life,” she said.
  • Ulrika Jonsson, 50
    Ulrika Jonsson, 50
    Ulrika Jonsson has revealed she suffered “unimaginable anxiety” and memory loss while going through the menopause, which left her fearing she had Alzheimer’s disease.

    “I actually took a friend of mine aside and said to her, and she’s a few years older than me, and I said ‘I’m really worried that I might be getting early onset Alzheimer’s,’ and she said, ‘honestly, it’s just the menopause.’”
  • Lorraine Kelly, 57
    Lorraine Kelly, 57
    Lorraine Kelly admitted that the menopause caused her to "no longer feel joy in life" when it started.

    “I remember last year, Steve and I had gone away to Spain for the weekend, it was the most beautiful day, everything was fantastic. Rosie [Lorraine’s daughter] was sailing through her exams at university, life was really good, love my job, all of that… and there was no joy in my life,” she said.