Rod Stewart’s wife Penny opens up on ‘soul-destroying’ health struggle not in control

Penny Lancaster went to see a GP to help with the menopause

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Penny Lancaster, who turned 50 in March, detailed her ongoing struggles with menopause during Friday’s instalment of BBC Breakfast. Penny, who is married to rocker Rod Stewart, has been campaigning for the abolition of prescription charges for hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a treatment to relieve symptoms of menopause. She told Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt just how “soul-destroying” the symptoms are.

Former model Penny, who has been calling for better support for women going through menopause, appeared on BBC Breakfast ahead of marching on Parliament Square in a bid to abolish prescription charges for HRT.

MPs are due to vote on a private members bill today (Friday, October 29), if passed, it would make HRT free for those going through menopause in England.

Currently, HRT is only free in Wales and Scotland so Penny wanted to update BBC viewers on the issue.

During the interview, Naga asked Penny: “So tell me Penny as this has gathered momentum, rightly so, and it’s people like you, who are people with a profile, who are making sure this is being heard about.”

Penny explained that when she was on the Loose Women panel she received feedback and positive comments from women around the UK who had experienced the same symptoms.

She said: “Women feel like it’s a taboo subject and they are embarrassed to talk about it, they feel they are on the edge of being extinct almost.

“If there was a 50-year-old man in a company at the top of his game looking to be promoted and he had a health issue, and mental health issue, like women suffer with menopause, they would find something to help him.

“And there are hundreds of women, it’s not like just a few women suffer from this, every single woman will go through this.”

She continued: “It really needs to be dealt with because physically and mentally it can be soul-destroying.”

Later in the debate, Penny touched upon the moment when doctors offered her anti-depressants when she started experiencing symptoms.

She said: “I think the symptoms many women experience are similar to women who are suffering from depression.

“But although the anti-depressants can take the edge off, they really are just a bandaid covering up what we are dealing with.

“The night sweats prevent you from sleeping, so you can’t even start your day properly and every anxiety, and every decision you have to make, is not in your control anymore so you feel like you’re having a nervous breakdown.”

She explained these were just some of the reasons why women’s hormones should be replaced free of charge when they go through menopause.

Joining her for the discussion was journalist and author Mariella Frostrup who agreed the issue needed to be dealt with promptly.

Mariella told viewers the menopause has “been a dark secret which has been hidden for such a long time”.

“Women had everything from jets of ice-cold water sprayed up them to having leeches placed on places I don’t want to mention on breakfast television in order to ‘cure’ them of this perfectly natural phase women go through,” Mariella added.

She also said every woman in the country should be getting a call from the NHS to tell them they should get a “menopause check” from a doctor who can help support women struggling with symptoms.

Mariella, 58, recently published the book Cracking The Menopause with Alice Smellie in a bid to address the issue.

BBC Breakfast airs weekdays between 6am and 9am on BBC One. 

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