Loose Women favourite Andrea McLean, 49, announced she would be having a hysterectomy live on the ITV show in 2016, opening up a candid dialogue surrounding women’s health and the menopause. Since then, she has continued to speak out about issues surrounding the topic and has let fans in on her journey through early menopause. During an appearance on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show earlier this week, she revealed why she shared the news on the programme in the first place, saying she had been warned of a possible misunderstanding if she simply disappeared from screens in order to recover from the surgery. “I didn’t want to talk about having a hysterectomy because I thought people will think, one, I’m old, but also I thought it’s nobody else’s business,” Andrea McLean told the host, 48.
“It’s ingrained in you— age is bad, do not age.
“Linda Robson said, ‘No, sweetheart, you’ve got to say something. They’ll think you’ve been fired!’” she added.
“And she did and she kind of outed me on Loose Women.
“Within 24 hours, 10,000 women got in touch with me,” Andrea recalled. “It was like tsunami of women desperate for information — how are you going to cope with the menopause? What are you doing? How are you dealing with your hysterectomy?
“I realised I’d been thinking about it all wrong,” the Loose Women host explained. “Actually, something clicked in my head and I just thought, I need to help.
“The whole book was born out of helping. It was looking into what do women need to know, how can I find out for them and how can I give it to them?
Last year, Andrea published Confessions of a Menopausal Woman, which looks at the science behind the menopause, documents her experience of symptoms and provides readers with information about the subject.
On the topic of taboos surrounding the menopause, Andrea told Zoe: “For some bizarre reason, there’s this part of our life that we’ve all secretly decided we’re not going to talk about.
“Aches, pains, brain fog, generally not feeling yourself,” she continued. “You just think, well that’s just me getting a bit older and being a bit crotchety.”
Since releasing the book, the presenter also embarked on a tour based on Confessions of a Menopausal Woman.
In a recent interview with The Mirror, Andrea spilled all on how she helps alleviate the symptoms of the menopause, having been open about her struggle with anxiety and hot flushes since her hysterectomy.
She said she has been using CBD oil, telling the publication: “It has massively taken the edge off things with the flushes and it has made me less anxious, because anxiety is still a key thing for me.
“Unless you have experienced it like I have, where it feels like there is a tiger in the room, then no one really understands what it is like.
“It is awful,” she added.
“Before I started taking CBD oil my doctor recommended taking propranolol and it did change my life within a week.
“I am on the lowest dose and it has literally made me feel like a different person,” she continued.
“It’s mot an antidepressant but what I no longer feel is that sensation of being on high alert.”
Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm and Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show airs weekdays at 6.30am on BBC Radio 2.