Hot flushes, brain fog: Kate Rodger opens up about 'secret stigma' surrounding menopause

Kate Rodger is on a quest to end the stigma surrounding menopause. 

The Newshub Entertainment Editor joined The AM Show on Thursday to talk candidly about the silent struggles she's faced while going through menopause, which she says are often brushed under the rug. 

"I'm usually very comfortable talking things starting with M: Matt Damon, Mathew McConaughey, movies…" Rodger joked, before revealing she was more hesitant to talk about the hormonal process. 

Menopause is the decline in reproductive hormones a woman experiences upon reaching her 40s and 50s, usually signalled by a year since her last menstrual cycle. 

It's marked by common symptoms like hot flashes, sleep disturbance, anxiety, brain fog and vaginal dryness.

But Rodger says while growing up there was little discussion of menopause, or understanding of the symptoms. 

"I had no idea about it, it's one of those things where I got to the grand old age of 50 without realising what it was," she told the AM Show hosts. 

"I'm of a generation where my mother and aunts never spoke about it, so I woke up one day and wanted to stab everyone in my house except the cat, and was getting up five times a night because I was lava and had to stand in front of the fridge." 

Rodger said the hot flushes were "awful". 

"You basically burst into flames and you can do it in a room with Angelina Jolie, I could do it right now on national television."

She revealed symptoms came to a head last week when she was doing her Friday morning AM Show entertainment wrap on the White Lotus. 

"I had my first proper huge brain fog, my worst nightmare, where I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the show - that's my job!" she said. 

"It was only a couple of seconds but it felt like a lifetime." 

AM Show host Amanda Gillies revealed she had gone through early menopause and after attempting to heal things with an estrogen patch, she tried HRT [hormone replacement therapy] which she dubbed "brilliant". 

"I love it and I can't recommend it more," she said. 

It may be uncommon for two women to be discussing their menopausal symptoms on breakfast television, but Rodger says that's exactly why it should be done more. 

"I'm over people not talking about it, or giving enough credence to the women they love or work with," she said. 

"I'm sick of it not being talked about and I'm feeling quite evangelical about it.

"I don't believe in that because I'm supposedly 'middle aged' and going through menopause that my life is over and I'm not fabulous ." 

Rodger told Newshub she was "drawing a line in the sand". 

"I refuse to navigate these perilous menopausal seas solo - a hot sweaty moody castaway washed up on the desert island of middle age," she said.

"Because this dry lonely island is not on any map... the island, like the woman who inhabits it, is invisible." 

More information about menopause can be found on the Health Navigator NZ website.

Watch the video above for the full interview.