The comedian, 58, said she began having “pretty dark suicidal thoughts” after suffering a debilitating sickness that left her dependent on steroids for 17 years.
When she reached menopause, it caused a significant deterioration in her mental state and she was unable to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) because it clashed with her other medication.
Speaking to The Observer, Burke said she had “always had bouts of depression, but this was something else entirely”.
Her health problems began at 40 years old when she was hospitalised for stomach surgery after suffering from diverticulitis, a digestive condition that affects the large intestine.
While in hospital, doctors discovered she had a blood condition, Hughes syndrome, which is an immune disorder that causes increased risk of blood clots.
Burke told the publication that the condition made her “immune system… [go] out the f***ing window, my adrenal glands clotted and bled”.
As a result, she was placed on long-term steroids to help produce adrenaline.
The Bafta-nominated actor said she is “so glad” she did not go through with her suicide plan during menopause because it “would have been a bit of a shame”.
“I came through the other side, and I’m f***ing delighted I did,” Burke added.
She has previously opened up about how going through menopause made her feel “isolated” in her 2019 Channel 4 series All Woman.
At the time, she said: “I didn’t want to go anywhere because I hated being a woman during my menopause. I was like, ‘Why am I a woman?’ I couldn’t bear it.”
She described menopause as “the biggest b*****d amongst the female anatomy”.
Menopause occurs when periods stop due to lower hormone levels, and usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.