NICOLA Sturgeon has opened up about her experience of menopause in a podcast interview.

The First Minister said that with her platform she felt a “responsibility” to talk about her own experiences and how it affects her work in government.

Sturgeon told The Shift (on life after 40) podcast that the world would be a better place if it was “ruled by menopausal women”.

Around 400,000 women in Scotland are of menopausal age, between 45 and 55, The 51-year-old SNP politician said that she was “in the foothills” of beginning menopause, and said she wasn’t sure how she would handle a “hot flush” in meetings.

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We previously told how the Scottish Government released a women's health plan in 2021 - the first of its kind in the UK - which includes menopause. 

Speaking to podcast host Sam Baker, Sturgeon said: “I already had a conversation with my doctor about HRT, I’m not taking it yet, and I did that deliberately because we’re of a generation, I guess where I grew up thinking that HRT is some terrible, terrible thing and it badge of honour that you would have to push yourself through without it.

“And obviously then to the study that turned out to be rubbish and the fear that many women develop because of that, and you just think how many women just suffer in silence and suffer unnecessarily because of that, so yeah, it's, it's a strange thing.”

The FM added that the conversation around menopause has opened up in recent years.

She said: “I'm very conscious of being a woman with a profile and a platform, a fair degree of influence. I feel a responsibility given that I'm at that age to talk about it myself.

The National:

“And yes, even talking about it like this to you right now I am so far out of my comfort zone, in terms of just the sort of intensely personal nature of it. And that tells me no matter how far we come in this discussion, we still have a long way to go that somebody like me still feels kind of uncomfortable with it.”

Sturgeon also said she had concerns that by openly speaking about her experience of menopause then it would be used against her “in some way”.

She added: “When in actual fact I think for most women, it is a bit like what we were talking about earlier, having to work harder to be taken serious, I guess for most women in positions like mine, although there’s never been that many, in positions like mine that will have gone through the menopause the response will be to work much harder to overcome it to make sure that you're trying not to let it sort of interfere in any way.

“I often think the world would be a much better place if it was ruled by women and maybe the world would be a much much better place if it was ruled by menopausal women.”

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Baker asked the FM if she had a hot flush in a meeting would she open a window or suffer through, Sturgeon said she hoped she would be open about her symptoms but added: “I’m also a human being”.

She said: “I don't know if I, you know, experienced those kind of extreme symptoms in public and meetings. I mean I've thought to myself, it's never happened yet, but you know I’ve kinda thought to myself, what if that happens when I'm on my feet in parliament in the middle of First Minister's questions, you know, what would I do? And I mean, that could happen, could happen any time.”

Asked what she thinks she would do in that situation, the FM added: “I don't know. I'm not sure I will know the answer to that question until it happens. So watch this space.

“Male opposition leaders should be thinking about it as well, what will I do?”

The National:

It comes as the First Minister also joked on the podcast, whilst discussing the different expectations of male and female politicians, that Boris Johnson (above) could benefit from self doubt.

She said: “I sometimes look at Boris Johnson and I think my god, a little bit of imposter syndrome would do you the world of good.

“Because actually it would make you take a step back and think maybe I’ve just got to work a bit harder, maybe I’ve just got to prove myself instead of this gliding through life as if the world owes you a living.”

The Shift (on life after 40) podcast is available to listen to now.