After going through early menopause at the age of 36, the star wants to shed light on the taboo subject and bring the hope and new beginning that it eventually brought her — to other women as well.
Menopause, usually between the ages of 45 and 55, marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. However, for actress Naomi Watts, this life-changing transition began much earlier — when she was 36 and trying for a baby.
Watts told Hello that perimenopause was “a word I didn’t even know about” when she getting ready to start a family. When she was thrown into this unexpected phase, Watts felt panic, loneliness, and a sense of „very much less-than or like some kind of failure.“
Watts, now 54, is speaking out about her experiences in an effort to reshape the menopause experience for women everywhere.
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„Mood swings, night sweats, migraines“ were among her symptoms, and as a result, she told Hello! „I felt like I was spiralling out of control.“The symptoms were not only difficult, but also caused „anxiety, shame, confusion, and panic.“
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to menopause. Every woman’s body and experiences are unique. Hot flushes, night sweats, and mood swings are all common symptoms, which Watts experienced. Anxiety, brain fog, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, discomfort during sex, and changes in skin and hair can all be added to this list.
These symptoms typically appear during perimenopause, the period preceding menopause, and can last for three to four years. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) provides some relief through gels, pills, or patches. However, while many women find it beneficial, it is not appropriate for everyone.
Watts remarked on the scarcity of resources available at the time to help women navigate the perimenopausal and menopausal transitions. She explained that there was little doctor intervention aside from „Here’s a patch, gel, or spray.“ And from her friends, she was „met with nervous laughs and shrugging it off, and I thought, ‚Oh wow, no one else is there, I better keep silent,‘ and that’s how it was,“ she says.
Watts turned her adversity into a strength by finding her voice and using it to advocate for herself and others. „Going through this journey led to a deeper understanding of myself, and I came out on the other side feeling more authentically me,“ Watts admitted.
Despite significant progress, Watts believes that much more work needs to be done to educate and raise awareness about menopause. Telling Hello! „I truly believe that if menopause hadn’t been such an off-limits topic when I first started experiencing symptoms, I would’ve had an easier transition.“
Naomi has teamed up with the non-profit Menopause Mandate to provide more midlife support so that no woman feels as alone or as lost as she once did. Watts concluded by encouraging all women to „just be open and honest about what you’re going through.“ Because, as she knows all too well, „hiding is so much more exhausting.“
Watts believes that the big screen has done a poor job of portraying menopause, and she is eager to change that. „How is that not worth writing stories about?“ She inquired, describing the menopause phase as providing „excellent material for meaningful and rich storytelling.“