Hollyoaks legend reveals diagnosis that left her 'crying all the time'

Hollyoaks actress Stephanie Waring

Hollyoaks star Stephanie Waring has been discussing her experiences with perimenopause symptoms prior to her diagnosis.

The actress, who plays Cindy Cunningham in the Channel 4 soap, has two daughters with former partner Dan Hooper but is now engaged to Tom Brookes.

She admitted that before she received her official diagonsis of perimenopause in 2021, she struggled so much with the hormonal imbalances and her emotions, it left her ‘crying all the time’ and thought ‘not being here would be the only way to make it stop’.

The 45 year old told The Sun: ‘I was crying all the time. I came home one day and my partner was out and my kids, Mia, who’s 17, and Lexi, who is 12, were with their dad. And I just remember being on the bathroom floor screaming and begging someone to help me. The doctors were saying they couldn’t do anything at that point and I couldn’t cope any more. I didn’t want to harm myself but I just remember thinking maybe not being here would be the only way to make it stop.’

She added: ‘I got the first symptoms around the same time I got into a relationship with my now-fiancé Tom Brookes, who is a security consultant, in December 2020. It should’ve been a really happy time but I was going into the other bedroom at night because I couldn’t sleep. Nearly every night for a whole year I’d be awake until around 3am. Nothing I did helped. I was suffering from brain fog and I was just exhausted all of the time.’

Stephanie continued on, explaining how she was given a variety of options to try and help ease what she was feeling, but chose to have the Mirena coil inserted and began applying an oestrogen gel to her skin over starting HRT.

Because the coil and gel both include hormones, that also had an impact on Stephanie’s mental health: ‘I was explosive’, she explained.

‘I’d never been like it before but I would see the red mist over the smallest things. I honestly don’t know how Tom put up with me. Now he calls the coil the devil! My anxiety was through the roof, sleep never came and I started to experience this itching sensation all over my skin. It would jump from place to place and it felt like I had bugs crawling all over me. It’s called pruritus and it was the most debilitating thing. I went to see another specialist and once again, I was told to up my oestrogen.’

The ordeal also started to impact Stephanie’s work on Hollyoaks.

‘The first assistant director, Jo, took me into a room and asked me what was going on’, she said.

‘She then told me about a specialist she knew called Dr Michael Barnish, and together they may have saved my life. After a second consultation, I was finally diagnosed with oestrogen dominance.’

‘I basically had this soup of oestrogen running around my body that had set off my mast histamine cells. So I was giving myself more oestrogen and my progesterone wasn’t having a chance to clear it all — that’s what it does, it clears all your mast cells.

‘So me being constantly told to up my dosage was causing the problems’, she added.

‘I should’ve been given a very low dose of oestrogen and monitored closely.

‘The dosage should only have been increased if I began to experience other menopause symptoms along with the lack of sleep. The higher dosage caused me to have symptoms I would never have experienced otherwise.’

Over in Hollyoaks, Cindy recently left Grace Black (Tamara Wall) a cruel voicemail following their heist.

She told Grace that she wanted nothing more to do with her, but the scenes aired in the middle of the storyline that’s seen Cindy stop taking her bipolar medication.

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