Supermodel Beverly Johnson says despite menopause coming on suddenly back in the ’90s, the condition brought forth “a whole new beginning.”
Johnson reflected on how getting a hysterectomy in 1999 at 47 left her going through menopause without much information on how to handle the change.
A doctor recommended the hysterectomy after the fibroids she was diagnosed with in her thirties grew back following a myomectomy.
Dealing with painful uterine fibroids caused Johnson internal bleeding, anemia and menstruation every day for almost a year, PEOPLE detailed.
“It was a life changing moment,” Johnson told the outlet. “I went from my swinging forties to full blown menopause and I was not prepared.”
“It was a major operation,” she added on the hysterectomy. “I didn’t fully understand what the procedure entailed. The doctor didn’t explain and I thought menopause would come on gradually.”
Beverly Johnson Reflects On Menopause
Johnson explained some of the changes she experienced included weight gain, feeling tired and breaking out into sweats.
Speaking on the changes menopause had on her sex life, Johnson said, “You don’t have the hormones that keep you nice and moist in the areas you want to be nice and moist in.”
“Mentally, you still have a sex drive but physically, there were changes. You’re moist in all the wrong places and that was a big shocker for me. There are all these unexpected consequences,” the supermodel added.
Despite the challenges, Johnson, now 70, said going through menopause made her value herself and her health “in a new way.”
“We don’t know why African American women have an increased risk of fibroids and all the complications that come from that, and so for my African American sisters, it’s important to share information about our experience,” said Johnson. “For all women, we’ve learned to advocate for ourselves. To ask your doctor. We have the power to say ‘I don’t understand.’ Something I didn’t do when I had the hysterectomy.”
“Advocating for ourselves, not only in health care, but in every part of your life, that’s a beautiful thing,” she added.
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