Rita Simons undergoes hysterectomy after debilitating health issue

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Rita Simons, who starred as Roxy Mitchell on EastEnders for 10 years, recently underwent a hysterectomy after years of suffering with debilitating and irregular periods. In a candid interview, Rita said her periods were so painful they affected her ability to work and spike her OCD and anxiety.

She told OK! Magazine: “I was in panto and I got to the point where I was telling my agent not to book me on dates where I knew I’d be on my period, because it was so difficult to work. 

“It was debilitating…my emotions got completely freaked out every month.”

Rita says she first tried to mitigate the issue with a combination of hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – but the side effects made her feel so unwell that she could not continue.

She was then told by a doctor that the only option was to have a radical hysterectomy which removed her womb, cervix and both ovaries.

In the days following the operation, Rita told the aforementioned publication that “health comes first” but that she feels like the ordeal has been “an attack on my femininity”. 

She said: “As a woman, we often take for granted that you can get pregnant and then when you are not able to and the choice is taken away… 

“It’s a really strange thing because you don’t think you’d be that bothered until you’re in that situation, and then suddenly you’re like, ‘What if I do want kids in five years?’” 

Rita already has two children, 16-year-old twins Jaimee and Maiya, who she shares with her ex-husband Theo Silveston.

She also says that her partner Ben Harlow – who she has dated since 2020 – has been incredibly supportive. 

He also told the publication that he is “so proud” of her for making such a “courageous” decision.

Rita, who is also the niece of Lord Alan Sugar, is now recovering from her operation and preparing to face the menopause.

NHS advice says that patients who have undergone a radical hysterectomy will experience menopause immediately after the operation, regardless of their age.

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Rita has been very open about her health over the years.

She told the Daily Star in 2018 that she has been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, insomnia and OCD.

She said: “I suffer with a million ‘isms’, including ADHD. I also have really bad insomnia.  

“The worst is when I can’t sleep at all and I’m up all night. Some nights I’m awake just staring at the wall. I don’t even watch TV or listen to music. 

“It is awful. It is like torture. Sometimes it feels like I don’t sleep for days. It’s horrible.”   

To see all the exclusive pictures and watch video footage visit OK.co.uk or pick up a copy of OK magazine.

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