STEPS star Claire Richards has said she experiences "rages out of nowhere" after suffering with crippling perimenopause symptoms.
The 46-year-old star said perimenopause left her feeling "awful" and caused her to fly off the handle after being struck by bouts of anxiety.
Claire, who is mum to kids Charlie, 16, and Daisy, 13, with husband Reece, 52, said: "It started slowly last summer and then all of a sudden there was no ignoring it.
"I started to feel absolutely exhausted and my anxiety was out of control.
"I also got these rages out of nowhere. I'm not usually confrontational at all, but every time Igot in the car I thought I was going to kill somebody.
"My poor kids! I was beeping and shouting at people and telling them they shouldn't be on the road.
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"I would feel this rage and anxiety in the pit of my stomach and it would creep up and out and it was hard to breathe. It was awful."
What is perimenopause?
Perimenopause means "around menopause".
It refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, thus marking the end of a woman's reproductive years.
A woman may begin transitioning sometime in her 40s. However, this transitional period happens at a different age for every woman, and it could happen as early as mid-30s
Throughout the menopausal transition, some subtle — and some not-so-subtle — changes in your body may take place. You might experience:
- Irregular periods.
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- urinary infections
- vaginal infections
- changes in sexual arousal
- Changing cholesterol levels
Earlier this year Claire spoke to The Sun about her early career in Steps saying she was asked to lose weight when she auditioned for the group.
She said: "We were of that era of ‘heroin chic’ — everyone had no hips and no boobs.
“I had shape and I remember I was aware of my bum in tight outfits. I would tie a hoodie around my waist, which probably made it look a lot worse.”
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When she auditioned for Steps in 1997 as a slim size ten, Claire revealed she was told: “We love you, we want you to be in the band, but we need you to lose weight if you want to be in it.”
She added: “It wasn’t right then and it absolutely isn’t right now.
“But when you are young and you’re being offered that kind of opportunity — and the only stipulation is that you lose half a stone — I think any young girl would.”
Despite a nine-year break in the Noughties, Claire and bandmates Lee Latchford-Evans, 48, Lisa Scott-Lee, 47, Faye Tozer, 47, and Ian “H” Watkins, 47, are still going strong scoring four UK No1 albums in their 25-year career.
“If I walked into a room now and someone told me to lose weight, I would absolutely tell them where to go — even if I thought I needed to lose it — or if I didn’t," she said.
“I turned 46 this month and I feel great. I’m not new to the game — I’m confident.
“Since going solo, I have never felt like anyone has made me feel as though I look like a haggard old witch, as much as I feel like it myself sometimes.
“Everyone is very kind and says I look great. I think the pressure almost comes from ourselves more than anything.
“I do spend a lot of time and effort and money on trying to keep the appearance.
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“I want to look fresh because I want to feel good when I’m on stage.”
The band — originally launched as a line-dancing group with their infectious 1997 debut, 5, 6, 7, 8 — became an instant hit.
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