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Halle Berry's Herpes Scare: Transforming Perimenopause Awareness

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In an interview with Jill Biden on March 25, 2024, Halle Berry shared how her perimenopause symptoms were misdiagnosed and it’s a lesson for all of us in how to be prepared for the vaginal changes that come with perimenopause and menopause.

At 54, Halle Berry was in a happy relationship with the man of her dreams but was facing a big problem. After sex, she felt terrible pain, like there were razor blades in her vagina. 

Worried, she goes to her doctor, who mistakenly diagnoses her with a severe case of herpes, or what he said was “the worst case of herpes I’ve ever seen”. However, the real issue wasn't herpes at all.

The actual problem was GSM, or the genitourinary syndrome of menopause. This condition affects the vagina, bladder, urethra, and vulva due to lower estrogen levels. It can cause painful sex, a feeling of razor blades in the vagina, frequent urges to urinate, repeated UTIs, and UTI symptoms without the infection.

“Genitourinary syndrome of menopause is very common. It affects 50-80% of women post-menopause. And the symptoms can start prior to the stop of your periods, in the perimenopause years.”
- Dr. Kelly Casperson, MD

Halle Berry’s personal story reflects a broader issue of the misdiagnosis of GSM as a UTI, bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, or herpes. Women are made to feel they’ve done something wrong when it’s really just a natural process that happens when hormone levels decline in perimenopause and menopause.

Why we built Interlude

GSM is so common it’s almost inevitable. Fortunately, GSM is very treatable with topical hormones that are both safe and effective. At Interlude, we understand how tough it can be to get access to appropriate care, and we're here to help. We offer an easy and convenient online consult with a board-certified physician who can prescribe treatments like estradiol vaginal cream, delivered straight to your door.

Not all signs of perimenopause and menopause are hot flashes or night sweats. Sometimes, they're vaginal symptoms like GSM. With proper preparation for what to expect and knowledge of your treatment options, misdiagnoses can become a thing of the past and we can look forward to a future where women don’t needlessly suffer from GSM.