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Halle Berry said a doctor mistook her perimenopause for the ‘worst case of herpes’ he’d seen

Halle Berry said a doctor mistook her perimenopause for the ‘worst case of herpes’ he’d seen

It took a negative STI test for her symptoms to be taken seriously.

Halle Berry is sharing her experience with getting a diagnosis for perimenopause, which her doctors initially mistook for herpes.

On Monday, the Oscar winner, 57, appeared at A Day of Unreasonable Conversation, a summit hosted by social impact agency Propper Daley in Los Angeles. According to The Hollywood Reporter, during a conversation with First Lady Jill Biden about women’s health, Halle discussed her own experience with her perimenopause symptoms – specifically the pain she felt during sex.

When she told a doctor about her discomfort, Halle recalled, “He said, ‘You have the worst case of herpes I’ve ever seen.’ I’m like, ‘Herpes? I don’t have herpes!’” After, she and her partner, Van Hunt, got tested for the viral infection, and she said their results were negative.

“We are not done. We’re just getting started in our next act.”

“I realised after the fact that [vaginal dryness] is a symptom of perimenopause” and was likely contributing to the pain, Halle said, according to People. “My doctor had no knowledge and didn’t prepare me. 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.”

As a quick refresher, perimenopause refers to the time menopause starts, and most people experience it between the ages of 40 and 44. The most common symptoms, per the Mayo Clinic, include vaginal dryness, which can make sex painful (as Halle described), hot flashes, and mood swings – but no one test or symptom can determine if you’ve entered perimenopause, which is why it’s often easily misdiagnosed.

Now, Halle hopes to raise awareness about what menopause can feel like and how to get the right care for its symptoms. Berry ended her conversation with the first lady by urging the audience to “help us change the way culture views women at this stage of our lives.”

And there’s one more misconception about menopause that Halle Berry wanted to clear up: “We’re not exactly at the end. We’re sitting up here, two women who are clearly down the path of life – we are not done. We’re just getting started in our next act.”

This article was originally published on SELF.