Davina McCall admits she first thought her groundbreaking menopause documentary was the ‘biggest mistake’ of her career.
The former Big Brother presenter has found a new purpose in recent years in fighting for women’s health – namely, menopause – to be taken seriously.
Her 2021 documentary Davina McCall: Sex, Myths and the Menopause aired to critical acclaim and sparked a vital discussion on ending the stigma that still exists around something half the population go through.
Davina opened up on her own experience in the documentary, busting taboos and speaking honestly about the often debilitating symptoms, which included brain fog and depression.
And, she admits, she had second thoughts after filming wrapped.
Davina spoke to Metro.co.uk and other press at the preview to her new documentary Sex, Mind & The Menopause, a follow-up to the eye-opening Sex, Myths & The Menopause.
Referring to the first documentary, Davina said: ‘We filmed it and I was like “Oh my God, this was the biggest mistake of my life.”
‘My toes were curling, I sat down to watch it on the television and I was like “Oh my God, oh my God, what have I done?”‘
It was only after she saw the impact her documentary had had on the people who needed it most that Davina realised something special had happened.
The morning after the show aired, Davina took her dog for a brief walk, ‘and it took me two hours.’
‘I literally got stopped by everyone,’ she said. ‘Men, women, everyone, saying “Oh my God I watched that thing last night, it was amazing, I sat down and cried, that’s what had happened to me and nobody listened to me, and now I’m going to go to my doctor…”
‘It was insane!’ she said. ‘I thought “Oh my God, what’s happened, what’s going on?”‘
The movement to educate on the symptoms of menopause, end the stigma around it and provide Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to everyone who needs it has ‘grown and grown’ since then, Davina said.
And the biggest difference she has noticed in others – and herself – was ‘just talking’ about it; ‘women not being ashamed or afraid or embarrassed’ of what they were experiencing.
‘One of the biggest things, I think, that came out of this documentary was talking to people about dry vaginas,’ Davina said.
‘I just said dry vaginas so often, I went on Nicky Campbell’s radio show and I must have said it like 30 times, and then I just started saying it for fun!’
Despite being one of the most ‘debilitating’ symptoms of menopause, Davina said a dry vagina is ‘the one symptom’ women will leave out when they go to a GP for help with menopause as they may be too embarrassed.
‘We saw in the first documentary a woman who couldn’t sit down, she had to sit on cushions, she couldn’t have sex, she had constant UTIs, she was in agony, and there was such an easy solution for it,’ Davina recalled.
Davina has spoken out before about how fearful she felt when she first began getting the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause, and when asked by Metro.co.uk how seeing this documentary might have helped her back then, her reply was instant.
‘I would have started on HRT much earlier,’ she said.
‘I wouldn’t have struggled on for three years, feeling lost and feeling lonely and scared.
‘Hopefully any woman in her 40s wouldn’t be in the dark anymore,’ she added.
‘I’m hoping that we are easing to the point where most women have some hope.’
Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause airs on Channel 4 on Monday, May 2 at 9pm