Cecelia Ahern on perimenopause: ‘This hot angry woman was coming out’

The best-selling author talks about her experience of HRT

Listen | 47:54

While writing her latest novel, ‘In a Thousand Different Ways’, author Cecelia Ahern was also busy navigating “the three Ps”: the perimenopause, the pandemic and the postnatal period following the birth of her third child.

“There were so many things that came crashing together,” she says. “I was feeling so much, I wrote a book about feeling”.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Irish Times Women’s Podcast, Ahern reveals the bouts of brain fog and rage she experienced through perimenopause, before taking up Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to ease her symptoms.

“This hot angry woman was coming out… I said to my GP, I feel like I’m living in a different body, I don’t feel like this is me,” she explains.


Before going down the HRT route, Ahern says she “tried everything not to do it”, by giving up alcohol, exercising more and trying different therapies. “I did everything I possibly could, until it got to the extent where the GP said, you have done everything, there is nothing else I can tell you to try,” she says.

Describing the effects of the treatment she explains, “I wouldn’t say it’s immediate, and it’s not even magical, but when you look back you can see there is a progression… I do feel less in a swirl”.

Ahern’s latest novel ‘In a Thousand Different Ways’ is another swirl of emotions. It tells the story of Alice, who sees people’s moods in the form of colours around their bodies and as a result knows exactly what everyone around her is going through.

“I wanted to use colour as a way to show how moods can travel and how things can be transferred from one person to the next,” she says.

An empath herself, Ahern says of the book, “there is a huge part of me in there… at times I’m highly sensitive”.

Reflecting on her journey with the ‘three Ps’, she adds “I don’t think I could have written this book at any other time in my life, and I think that’s why it feels so special”.

In this wide-ranging conversation, we also hear about Ahern’s new qualification as a fork-lift driver, why she’s keen to give pole-dancing a whirl and whether we’ll see her memoir coming out any time soon.

Listen back in the player above or wherever you get your podcasts.

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan

Suzanne Brennan is an audio producer at The Irish Times