HomeEntertainmentHalle Berry says her doctor mistook perimenopause symptoms for herpes

Halle Berry says her doctor mistook perimenopause symptoms for herpes


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Halle Berry has revealed that her symptoms of perimenopause were initially mistaken as the “worst case” of herpes her doctor had ever seen.

The Oscar-winning actor appeared at the A Day of Unreasonable Conversation summit in Los Angeles on Monday (25 March), which saw social change agency Propper Daley unite a number of public figures to discuss topics across race, health and politics.

Berry, 57, was on stage with First Lady Jill Biden when they began to talk about women’s health, menopause and the way older women’s stories are often told. The actor voiced her desire to shift the often negative narrative surrounding menopause – the life stage after a person’s menstrual cycles end, which can involve symptoms such as hot flashes, chills, and night sweats.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, she said that menopause and perimenopause cannot “just be the doom and gloom story” and that is in fact “a glorious time of life”.

Berry then began to explain how she discovered that she was perimenopausal, first quipping that she thought she was going to skip the experience: “I’m very safe, I’m healthy, I managed to get myself off of insulin and manage my diabetes since I’m 20 years old.”

However, she noticed a personal change when her sex life took an upswing after meeting “the man of my dreams”, singer-songwriter Van Hunt, at age 54. Berry surprised Biden by divulging the amount of sex she and Hunt were having, to which the First Lady noted: “I didn’t know she was going to tell this story. I’m not talking about mine!”

The Gothika star said that after sex, she often experienced extreme pain. After seeking medical advice, Berry was told by her doctor that she had the worst case of herpes he’d ever seen. Yet, both she and Hunt tested negative for the disease, leading to a discovery about her new life stage.

Halle Berry (Getty Images)

“I realised, after the fact, that is a symptom of perimenopause,” she said, since vaginal dryness is a common symptom of the transitional period.

She continued: “My doctor had no knowledge and didn’t prepare me. That’s when I knew, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to use my platform, I have to use all of who I am and I have to start making a change and a difference for other women.’”

Van Hunt and Halle Berry at the 2023 Oscars (Getty Images)

Berry has been open about her experiences of midlife change in recent years, telling Women’s Health last year that she’s “solidly in” her “womanhood” as she embraces perimenopause.

“I am challenging everything I thought I knew about menopause,” Berry explained. “Things like: ‘Your life is over.’ ‘You are disposable.’ Society no longer has a place for you.’ ‘You should retire.’ ‘You should pack it up.’”

Berry went on to state that, on the contrary, she is now her “best self”.

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