By Michelle Heaton
Former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton was devastated when she found out she was going through menopause in her 30s.
Here the mum-of-two, 37, speaks to ITV Tonight of her experience as it was revealed a quarter of women going through 'the change' have considered leaving work due to the symptoms.
How do I have something that could kill me when I don’t feel sick?
That’s the first thing that went through my mind once I was told I was BRCA2 positive (a cancer causing gene).
My second thought was how do I stop it killing me?
I watched this hereditary gene rip my family apart with breast and ovarian cancer.
I didn’t for one min think it could be "passed" onto me - and in my situation passed on via my dad.
For me, it was an easy decision to undergo my double mastectomy and then plan my hysterectomy; I was after all, just trying to prevent cancer getting me.
When you go through those life-changing decisions your focus is getting rid of the risks, you forget about the aftermath.
The aftermath for me was putting my body into what they call ‘forced medical menopause’.
Menopause, that’s a word I used to associate with my mum, the older generation.
I didn’t really know much about it except you get it when you’re old and too old to have children. And you can get hot sweats. So I thought, so I’ll sweat a bit, I can handle that.
Well, sweating was accompanied by a whole host of symptoms.
The list is endless, and I don’t know where to begin.
For me, the biggest impact has been depression.
I’m a very vibrant happy energetic person, for the most part. But now I have moments where I feel trapped, held hostage in my own body.
I don’t know how to get out of the moment.. I have to ride it out.
I can’t talk to people about how I feel, as I don’t want to upset them. And to be honest, I don’t think they would understand.
I’m not sure I do… I hope someday I will.