The media legend, 69, opened up about her perimenopause experience during a panel conversation about menopause airing on OprahDaily.com.
By Gina Vivinetto
Oprah Winfrey is opening up about the difficulty she faced getting answers from medical professionals about one commonly overlooked perimenopause symptom.
The OWN founder, 69, revealed during a panel conversation about menopause airing April 5 on OprahDaily.com that doctors never explained to her that the heart palpitations she began experiencing in her late 40s were likely caused by entering menopause.
“I never had a hot flash in my life. Never had one … but I started (menopause) at 48 with heart palpitations. And I went from doctor to doctor, literally five different doctors,” said Winfrey. “At one point, a female doctor had given me, first of all, an angiogram and put me on heart medication and never once mentioned that this could be menopause or perimenopause.”
The media legend told her panelists — which included NBC News contributor Maria Shriver, actor Drew Barrymore, Dr. Sharon Malone, Dr. Heather Hirsch and Dr. Judith Joseph — that she ended up accidentally learning about the connection in a book.
“I just happened to be in the office one day and opened a book and saw ‘heart palpitations symptoms of perimenopause.'”
Winfrey said her perimenopause symptoms also included classic signs of brain fog.
“I remember going through a period where I just felt like whatever … and could not concentrate reading, which is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “I couldn’t focus long enough.
“A friend who was going through (menopause) said, ‘Do you find yourself not concentrating?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Do you feel that you’re duller than you used to be?’ ‘Yeah,’” Winfrey recalled.
Shriver said that, in her research and reporting on menopause, she’s found that many doctors misdiagnose the mental symptoms.
“Most people at Oprah’s age, when they would go (to the doctor), a lot of times, they’re like, ‘You need antidepressants.’ They diagnose you with depression and that midlife depression anxiety. And they don’t even ask you or tell you that this could be a symptom of being perimenopausal,” said Shriver.
Winfrey responded, “I would’ve for sure been headed for depression had I not been on estrogen.”
Perimenopause is also called the “menopausal transition,” said Malone, chief medical advisor of Alloy, which provides online menopause treatment.
“(It’s) where you’re going between your peak fertility years to the end of your fertility at menopause,” she continued, adding that the transition can take anywhere between four and 10 years.
Perimenopause symptoms can include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances and brain fog, and they “start well in advanced of your last menstrual period,” said Malone.
Menopause, on the other hand, is a fixed point in time.
“Menopause actually starts the moment you have your last period,” Malone said. “It’s confirmed by going another 12 months and not getting another period.”
Malone said she avoids using the term postmenopausal “because you are menopausal forever. … You’re never over it. (We) will be in it for, if we’re lucky, a third of our lives.”
We need more information about how to deal with menopause as alot of us approach 50… Its not really talked about in the Zambian circles the way puberty is talked about and celebrated. Now that the life expectancy of Zambians is increasing we need more awareness of these things.
Totally agree with you. A lot of women out there approach their menopause with no clue of what is going on in their bodies. And yes there has been a lot of missed diagnosis, totally agree with the writer and Oprah.
Not every “baby factory” is closed the same way. It depends on the closing facility’s disease susceptibility and immunity, A specific lifestyle could have caused some of the OWN owner’s acribed symptoms. Other people can reach “ovarian retirement” in early 40s, Biblical Sara went over 90 years, giving some up to 50 years in window period. Weaklings are most negatively affected. Some go through “the change” very silently without any hullabaloos. Women are differently madeup. Thanks to the strength of an African woman.
Beatrice that strength is quickly waning because the African woman is getting hooked to fast foods and cocacola. It was our natural diet that made us strong not KFC and Hungry Lion
This article can serve as an eye opener for health based NGOs in Zambia to start a menopausal awareness programs.
Sorry ladies Iam a young man. I just need some education. Are there many menopauses? Since the article says her first menopause? What is this menopause? Is it something to fear or to avoid? I ‘ll be thankful for any answers
Hahahahaha, the must be with no doubt.
I used to love watching this woman’s show but after selling out her own people using her show…she gets no love. She’s setting the scene for another blockbuster show to profit from natural causes. A billionaire who can afford the best doctors on the planet wants to play victim for the love of money.
Hh has reached menopause too
What is this menoppose?
It is where a person becomes incompetent and a liar
I think it’s when you put your teeth on pause…”Meno pause” don’t quote me on this.
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