Broadcaster Zoe Hardman says she feels like a 'big piece of her died' when she went through the early menopause after the birth of her second baby in 2018.
The TV presenter, podcaster and Heart DJ said losing her libido and the impact on her relationship with rugby player Paul Doran-Jones was hard because they are a "very physical couple" but that ultimately she worked out she was "stronger than she thought".
Speaking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, Hardman — who first appeared on our screens nearly 20 years ago in Channel 4's Playing It Straight — said she had learned to put herself back together again and learn her own lessons of the early menopause.
She said: "I feel like every single milestone that I've gone through, I've come out the other side, and there's been a bigger lesson. For me, this was about the staying power of a relationship.
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"When you go through something like early menopause and you've got a partner, and [Paul] and I are a very physical couple.
"We fell in love in a really big, beautiful cloud of chemistry, and then going through it after my second I suddenly just, it was almost like a big piece of me died.
"That, for me was the scariest part because my libido and my ability to make a connection with him was ripped away.
"And I suddenly felt very, very frightened, very alone, very scared, you know.
"It's been a real sort of putting the blocks back together to find myself again as a person and to actually figure out that I am stronger than I think I am, that I am able to cope with things in a better way."
She explained to Thornton that recovering from losing her dad when she was 30 took a "really long time", but that it was different with her experience of early menopause.
She said: "This has been something that I've really found the strength to carry on. It isn't the end of the world. At the time, I thought: 'I'm never going to get through this. I'm never going to feel like myself again. I'm never going to be able to hold a conversation, I won't be able to do my job. How am I going to be able to do live radio?'
"I felt like a dried piece of fruit. And it was really scary.
"I don't think a woman should ever feel unsexy or unwanted or undesired or and I think libido, I've spoken about twice and we've only been chatting for 10 minutes, but that is really important to me.
"And for that for that to be taken away from you at the same time, it's just not fair. None of it's fair.
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