Halle Berry, 57, Says Her Doctor Misdiagnosed Perimenopause Symptoms As Herpes

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Halle Berry is opening up about the complicated way she discovered she was in perimenopause.

During a conversation with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden during Propper Daley's "A Day of Unreasonable Conversation" summit on Monday, the 57-year-old shared that her doctor originally misdiagnosed her symptoms of perimenopause as herpes. (Perimenopause, in case you’re not familiar with it, is the time when your body makes the natural transition to menopause, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.)

“First of all, my ego told me that I was going to skip [perimenopause],” she said, per People. “I'm in great shape. I'm healthy. I managed to get myself off of insulin and manage my diabetes since I'm 20 years old. So that makes one think, oh, I can handle menopause. I'm going to skip that whole thing. I was so uneducated about it at that time.”

But Halle said that when she started dating her boyfriend Van Hunt at 54, she experienced intense pain—“like I have razor blades in my vagina”—after having sex one day. So, she went to her doctor.

first lady jill biden and halle berry visit the university of illinois chicago highlighting women's health research
Halle Berry and Dr. Jill Biden during Propper Daley’s fourth "A Day of Unreasonable Conversation."KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI - Getty Images

“I run to my gynecologist and I say, ‘Oh my God, what's happening?’ It was terrible,” Halle said. “He said, ‘You have the worst case of herpes I've ever seen.’ I'm like, ‘Herpes? I don't have herpes!’”

Halle said she confronted her boyfriend about it and they both got tested—but that both of them were negative. “I realize after the fact, that is a symptom of perimenopause,” she said, pointing out that vaginal dryness is common in both perimenopause and menopause. Other symptoms can include irregular periods, hot flashes and sleep issues, mood changes, and a change in sexual arousal, the Mayo Clinic says.

“My doctor had no knowledge and didn't prepare me,” Halle said. “That's when I knew, ‘Oh my gosh, I've got to use my platform. I have to use all of who I am, and I have to start making a change and a difference for other women.”

This isn't the first time Halle has gotten real about menopause. Last year, she wrote in an essay in Women’s Health that she's trying to challenge "all those stereotypes about how you have to look a certain way or feel a certain way."

In her as-told-to essay, Halle offered advice to other women going through the same thing. “The most important thing about owning your sexuality as a woman is accepting the station you're at—and embracing that. And I say that because I'm smack dab in the middle of menopause,” she said. “And I am challenging everything I thought I knew about menopause. Things like: ‘Your life is over.’ ‘You are disposable.’ ‘Society no longer has a place for you.’ ‘You should retire.’ ‘You should pack it up.’”

But Halle said that she’s her “best self” now, and feels like she has more to offer. “I have zero blanks to give anymore,” she said. “I'm solidly in my womanhood. I finally realize what I have to say is valuable, even if no one else agrees.”

Halle Berry, everyone!

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