Halle Berry's doctor misdiagnosed her perimenopause as 'the worst case of herpes I’ve ever seen'

"My doctor had no knowledge and didn't prepare me," the Oscar-winning actress said at the fourth annual A Day of Unreasonable Conversation summit.

Halle Berry wants to change the conversation surrounding menopause — one misdiagnosis story at a time.

On Monday, at Propper Daley's fourth "A Day of Unreasonable Conversation" summit, the Oscar-winning actress joined First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for a conversation about women's health. Towards the end of their talk, Berry — who has become an outspoken advocate for menopause awareness — surprised both Biden and the crowd by getting candid about the distressing story behind her perimenopause diagnosis.

“First of all, my ego told me that I was going to skip it,” Berry began, per PEOPLE. “I'm in great shape. I'm healthy. I managed to get myself off of insulin and manage my diabetes since I'm 20 years old. So that makes one think, ‘Oh, I can handle menopause. I'm going to skip that whole thing.’ I was so uneducated about it at that time.”

She then referenced her relationship with singer-songwriter Van Hunt, who she began dating in 2020. Calling the Grammy-winning musician “the man of my dreams,” Berry explained that after an instance of painful intercourse, she visited her doctor for an explanation.

“I feel like I have razor blades in my vagina. I run to my gynecologist and I say, ‘Oh my God, what's happening?’ It was terrible,” she recalled. “He said, ‘You have the worst case of herpes I've ever seen.’ I'm like, ‘Herpes? I don't have herpes!’”

<p>Eugene Gologursky/Getty</p> Halle Berry

Eugene Gologursky/Getty

Halle Berry

Berry said she immediately confronted Hunt about the herpes scare but when the couple tested for the STD, their results came back negative.

“I realize after the fact, that is a symptom of perimenopause,” the actress continued, explaining how the incident inspired her advocacy. “My doctor had no knowledge and didn't prepare me. That's when I knew, ‘Oh my gosh, I've got to use my platform. I have to use all of who I am, and I have to start making a change and a difference for other women.'”

Perimenopause refers to a transitional period before menopause, when the female ovaries begin to gradually produce less estrogen. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Berry told the room that through her advocacy, she aims to change "the way women and men feel about women during their midlife and how they feel about this — which used to be a dirty little word — menopause, perimenopause.”

She added, “It can’t just be the doom and gloom story. This is a glorious time of life.”

Other speakers at the event included Kerry Washington, Jane Fonda, Paris Hilton, and recent Oscar-winner Cord Jefferson.

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