Sarah Lancashire is struggling with 'most terrible menopause' as she reveals it's impacting her memory

"It just comes over you all of a sudden"

Sarah Lancashire menopause
(Image credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire has revealed she is having 'the most terrible menopause' and it's even affecting her memory.

Best known for her standout performances in Channel 4 Drama The Light in the Hall, whose ending needed some explanation, and the BBC's hit show Happy Valley, whose ending honoured the very first episode and can also now be watched in the US so no one misses out, Sarah Lancashire has been a fixture in many peoples' homes and lives for decades. 

It was no surprise then that the actress was awarded this year's special recognition award at the NTAs as well as receiving the award for best drama performance. But while Sarah appeared as cool as a cucumber as she walked the red carpet, on which Susanna Reid wowed in scarlet ruffled gown and on-trend wavy bob, she has now revealed she was struggling with menopause symptoms throughout the ceremony. 

The 58-year-old told Mail On Sunday that, during the awards ceremony, she had two fans 'pretty much on my face the whole time' as her hot flushes were unbearable. Those watching at home would have had no idea though, as the actress added, "I brought one of my closest friends with me and his job was to keep an eye out for the cameras and if it looked like they were going to pan across to us, then he'd let me know so I could hide them."

It's not just hot flushes that Sarah is suffering through as she revealed she is also struggling with brain fog as she navigates, what she calls, 'the most terrible menopause.' 

She shared, "I've got brain fog. I was in Sainsbury's the other day, and I found myself just stood there in the aisle and could not remember what I was there for. It just comes over you all of a sudden. I can't remember things that happened 30 years ago either."

To help curb her symptoms, Sarah says she has turned to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but it still working out what the best prescription is for her. She said, "I am on the gel but it's not great for me so I might give the patches a go next."

The candid insight into her health is not an unusual offering from Sarah who has previously opened up about her debilitating struggles with depression. Back in 2016, she revealed that she was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 18, leading her 20s to be a 'write-off' in terms of career progression as she worked to reduce the impact her medication had on her day-to-day life. 

Sarah Lancashire menopause

(Image credit: Photo by Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

She told The Daily Mail at the time, "I have my good and my bad patches…In my early days, depression did inhibit me because I was too debilitated and terrified to tell anyone why I couldn't get on a train from Manchester for auditions in London. I fully believed I'd lose work if I admitted to it.

"I was terrified of being judged and misunderstood. I just battled along. It was the worst thing I could have done."

To try and alleviate her depression, Sarah was prescribed tranquillisers, something she says left her 'in a terrible mess'. 

She revealed, "Tranquillisers were the worst thing for it and I ended up in a terrible mess. My 20s were a write-off."

But while she was reluctant to open up in her younger years, Sarah now believes that being open and candid is the best way to confront 'frightening' things. She said that being in the public eye "makes you frightened to talk openly about things - which is precisely why you should".

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Freelance news writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with Good To, BBC Good Food and The Independent.