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Davina McCall on How Menopause Affected Her Memory: 'Please Help Me, I Think I've Got Alzheimer's'

Claudia Canavan
·3-min read
Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mike Marsland - Getty Images

From Women's Health

  • Davina McCall has revealed that she was 'paranoid' that she had contracted Alzheimer's disease, after dealing with menopause-related memory loss

  • The presenter's father has the progressive brain disorder

  • Davina first developed perimenopause symptoms at age 44, and uses hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with its effects

Davina McCall has opened up about the impact of menopause on her life in a new interview – including revealing that she was 'paranoid' that she had contracted Alzheimer's disease, due to dealing with memory loss.

Speaking to sport presenter Gabby Logan on her podcast, The Mid.Point, she shared how her fear stems from the fact that her 76-year-old father struggles with progressive brain disorder.

After going to see her doctor, she was told that, instead, she has 'cognitive overload' (when the demands placed on your brain by too many tasks are too great for everything to be processed.)

'I'm on HRT [hormone replacement therapy, which replaces depleted oestrogen in the body] so I have absolutely no excuse to be going doolally but I'm still going doolally on the HRT,' she said.

As a result of being on the medication, she said: 'I am less angry. I don't get night sweats. I don't get hot flushes. These are the things that have gone. My joints feel, my bones feel lubricated and strong, but my memory, and like you Gabby, I work, I've got kids, I have a partner.

'Life is very busy and chaotic and you have to know a lot of stuff in your business about sort of everything. And I do lots of different jobs. So I have a hundred different hats on. I could be going from Long Lost Family one day, to The Masked Singer the next, to a Garnier job, to something else.

'And I'm learning different things for everything in my brain sometimes, because when I went to my doctor and I said, "Look, please help me, I think I've got Alzheimer's" because obviously my dad's got Alzheimer's." And I was like, "I'm always paranoid – I know I haven't really got it but am I okay?" to her.

'She said, "It's called cognitive overload". And at our stage in life often our kids are all older. We thought it was going to get easier. It does not.

Okay. But what is the menopause?

Quite simply, it’s when the ovaries can no longer produce the hormone oestrogen. Over a period of years or decades (the perimenopause), they gradually become less active and efficient until, eventually, they fail completely. After this point, no more eggs are produced and there are no more periods. This is what is used to describe women going through this change, who are over the age of 45.

Premature menopause or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI) relates to women below that age threshold. Although it carries many of the same menopause symptoms, a big difference is that the ovaries may not have failed completely – 5-10% of women with POI still conceive. Read up on the key menopause symptoms.

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