Oprah Winfrey has opened up about the terrifying medical condition she experienced that made her think she was “going to die”.
During an appearance on the Paramount+ series The Checkup with Dr. David Agus, the 68-year-old TV star spoke openly about her struggles with menopause while sitting down with her longtime friend Maria Shriver.
She shared that while she never experienced hot flashes, which is a common symptom for most women going through menopause, she suffered extreme heart palpitations that made her fear for her life and stay up at night wondering if she would make it through to the next day.
“I have journals filled with: ‘I don’t know if I’ll make it until the morning’,” she recalled. “I thought I was going to die every night.”
The talk show host added that she felt restless during menopause and couldn’t focus enough to read, which led her to end Oprah’s Book Club.
She said that she went to “every doctor possible” to try and find a treatment and a cause for the heart palpitations, including one female heart doctor who gave her heart medication and an angiogram - an X-ray scan that shows the heart’s blood flow.
“Nobody ever once suggested that it could be menopause,” she said.
Oprah went on to express her desire to destigmatise the experience of menopause, revealing that her mother never educated her about what to expect.
“I couldn't get my mother to talk about it,” she said. “My mother was a very shutdown person [and] I think she did not have symptoms that she recognised.”
Maria added: “I think women think that, ‘Oh menopause means the end of my period,’ but they don't connect the dots of heart palpitations, anxiety, depression, listlessness, lack of concentration. They don't understand that it's actually happening first in the brain and that all of these emotions that they may be going through are physical changes they may be going through that can be associated or attributed to perimenopause or menopause.
“The stigma will go away if women feel empowered and feel like there’s not something wrong with them if they talk about these issues they’re going through.”
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