Davina McCall says she was warned that discussing her menopause could damage her career as it was "ageing and unsavoury."
The 53-year-old TV presenter reveals she was "told not to talk about" her experience of menopause which began in her mid-forties.
And she admits she felt so ashamed at her decision to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help ease her symptoms, she even kept it a secret from pals.
She tells The Sun : "I lied to friends and told them I wasn’t on HRT. I was so ashamed of being on HRT because it somehow felt I was doing something wrong or dirty. It felt like I was chasing youth."
But her symptoms, which included night sweats, insomnia, low mood, anxiety and brain fog, meant it was difficult to work.
She adds: "I couldn’t work anymore and I was the breadwinner. I needed to make money, put food on the table. So I had to find a way of working. I just thought, ‘I can’t work if I don’t have hormones."
Nowadays, the star is feeling "better than I have done in years", saying: "I am working hard, I'm at the top of my game and feel like I’ve been reborn."
She's now keen to help others by speaking out about her own experiences - presenting a documentary Sex, Myths and The Menopause which airs on Channel Four next Wednesday.
She says: "Making this film and talking about all this personal stuff on camera wasn’t easy but do you know what? I’m not going to be embarrassed about a transition half the population goes through.
"When I hit menopause I couldn’t talk to anyone and I felt so alone. But now we’re part of a national conversation and our voices are getting louder."
The documentary sees her speak to menopause specialists and talk to women about their own experiences – some of whom have felt suicidal as a result of being told to battle on, or being put on anti-depressants which don't work.
She also visits a sex shop that specialises in helping women who are struggling in the bedroom because of the menopause.
The mum of-three, who got divorced in 2017, feels there would be far more funding for research if men went through the menopause.
"It's the disparity in treatment of women compared to if it was a man, that's the scandal. I think lots of men are onboard with that but lots of men aren’t. We really have to educate them.
"Let's face it, if they had their testicles cut off and their testosterone collapsed, they would be put on testosterone immediately.
"There’s no hullabaloo about it, it's just like, of course you need testosterone, it's your hormone, you're just replacing what you haven't got. But if that happens to women we’re told to pull our socks up and this is the natural way of things."