Michelle Heaton has opened up to Yahoo Celeb in an emotional interview about her struggle living with the menopause aged 37.
The popstar went into immediate menopause 23 months ago after having a hysterectomy and admitted she’s “ageing quicker” and “everything is that extra effort” since having the life-changing operation.
The brunette beauty made the difficult decision to have both of her breasts removed four years ago and her ovaries removed two years later when she discovered she’s a carrier of the BRCA gene and had an 85% chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
She has a pellet under her skin that secretes hormones every six months to regulate her body and stave off uncomfortable symptons like hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes but she says she’ll “never be 100% again.”
Michelle described the menopause – which women most commonly develop in their fifties – as having a “grey cloud” hanging over her, adding : ‘I had my hysterectomy two years ago pretty much to the month, and my double mastectomy four years ago to the month. I went into immediate menopause two years ago when it happened… I’m never going to be 100%. And I suppose what that means is I’m ageing quicker, everything is that extra effort.’
She added: ‘You could be like, ‘Today I’m moody because of the menopause’ but it’s probably, ‘No, I’m just being a bit of a b***h’. You know, I’m a mum, I’m a wife, I’m a woman. So I can’t blame it, it’s not like you just ‘know’, but it is there. It’s kind of a grey cloud, not a black cloud, it’s kind of hanging around.’
The Liberty X star and her Irish husband Hugh have two children, four-year-old Faith and two-year-old AJ – both of whom were delivered by caesarean section – and the decision to follow in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie, who had the same cancer gene and surgery, was a no-brainer because it has potentially saved her life.
Though Michelle admitted the scars on her body are a constant reminder of what she’s going through. Welling up with tears during our talk, she said: ‘It’s difficult because you almost feel like it never happened to you, but you’re reminded every day when you see the scars. It is really hard, I think the only way to compare it is, with the hysterectomy, I went into surgery, as I did having my C sections, and the operation and recovery was like that, but I came out without a baby. And then the ability to have children.
‘It is a very tough thing to go through and hard to get your head around. And that’s the only way I can describe it, is, you’re putting yourself through all of that pain and everything, and you’re getting less that what you would do. And it doesn’t really hit me until I speak to other women who are going through it, or who are now making the decisions like quite often I’ll be out and then someone might go, ‘Oh I saw you on Lorraine, and it made me get tested,’ you know?’
Michelle is grateful to have supportive Hugh by her side, adding: ‘He’s amazing, he is one in a million, and I always say this, I’ve been very lucky to find him, because not every man is like he is. And he doesn’t drink, as well, which I think is a really good thing, for me. And he looks great which is a bonus.’
Asked does she still drink, she said: ‘I do drink, yeah definitely, but it’s not like it used to be you just can’t cope with the hangovers.’
Aside from living with the menopause in her thirties the brave star is actually in good health and works out five times a week. What’s more, she’s gearing up for a month-long tour of Australia with Atomic Kitten and is replacing her best friend Liz McClarnon in the band, because the singer has an extreme fear of flying.
She said: ‘It’s only when you talk about it in that manner and you hear other people’s stories, that’s when it hits you that it has happened to you. Other than that I just get on with it, especially when you’ve got kids, I’m sure most people do, you haven’t got time to think about it.’
Looking ahead to the future, Michelle confessed she worries that her children have the BRCA gene but she and Hugh are hopeful that by the time their daughter Faith – who has just started school – turns 18, there’ll be a more simple fix.
Speaking at the Beko Tea Party – The Official Partner of Everyday – she said: ‘It does scare me, it’s awful, and it’s overwhelming. And every day, pretty much, it pops in my head when I look at Faith. But, she is only four, and when she’s 18, medicine evolves every single day, it’s evolved even since I had my operations. My hope is that there will be a pill that they can take. I mean there’s stuff going on now that could help her, so I do believe that medicine will evolve by then.’