"I went into complete panic." At 36, Naomi Watts started going through perimenopause.

Naomi Watts has opened up about her personal experience with perimenopause.

The Academy Award-nominated actress is done with the silence and stigma that has long surrounded this period of women's lives and is now making it her business (literally).

Watts, 54, has just launched her own beauty brand called Stripes, which is designed specifically for women in midlife, dealing with perimenopause and menopause.

It's something the actress knows about all too well, showing symptoms of perimenopause much earlier than her peers, at a pivotal time in her life.

"I found myself at 36 and perimenopausal, a word I didn't even know about, and at the precipice of trying to start a family," Watts said at The New Pause Symposium in New York City in October.

"So I went into complete panic, felt very lonely, very much less-than or like some kind of failure and what was I going to do?"

In an October profile with InStyle magazine for World Menopause Day, Watts shared how she thankfully had a colleague, who experiencing perimenopause too, who she could lean on.


"When I was shooting the TV show Gypsy, I was really having a lot of symptoms at that point in time and, luckily, I told my makeup artist that I was having problems sleeping,” The Watcher actress told the publication. 

"She’s around the same age, and I just needed one person to understand what I was going through. She identified with what I was experiencing and totally wrapped her arms around me. That meant the world to me that she understood having to work up to 16 hour days while dealing with symptoms."

Watts said the first time the word "menopause" was mentioned in relation to her own health was during a doctor’s appointment.

She and her former partner, Liev Schreiber, were trying to have a baby.

"I knew that there are changes to the body around the age of 35, but I didn't know that it was a really late time to start thinking about getting pregnant," Watts told InStyle.


"In today’s world, pregnancies are happening all around us up to mid to late 40s. My doctor mentioned I might need a donor egg, and for whatever reason, there’s still societal stigma around not conceiving naturally. 

"So that kicked off a whole world of secrecy and shame, and I started looking into other possible alternative routes I could take."

Watts told the publication that she wasn't a candidate for IVF, and she probably spent thousands of dollars trying everything to boost her chances of getting pregnant.

She finally did, and welcomed Alexander "Sasha", now 15, in 2007. 

A second pregnancy followed soon after, with the arrival of Kai, now 13, in 2008.


It was after both babies were born that her perimenopausal symptoms intensified. 

"After the second child, I went through massive night sweats, hot flashes and I thought 'this is terrible,' and I would try to test out the community of my friends and I was sort of met with nervous laughs and shrugging it off, and I thought 'Oh wow no one else is there, I better keep silent,' and that's how it was," she said at the symposium. 

Watts also asked her mother, who told her she had been 45 when she started perimenopause. 

"And that's all I knew," she continued. 

"There was no detail around it. There was no handholding from doctors. The doctors said okay, 'Here's a patch or a gel or a spray.' "

It was after hitting 50 that the actress decided it was time to talk about it.

"I just knew that this is a road that no one else should have to walk through alone again without a community, because without proper care taken you are going to turn in on yourself,"  Watts said.

"I'm now beyond the average age [to have perimenopause and menopause] and I can actually say it out loud and I can say, having gone through the worst part of it, I'm on the other side of it now."

Feature image: Instagram/@naomiwatts

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