Lisa Curry with her current partner Joel Walkenhorst. Photo: Getty
Medical professionals have poured scorn on Lisa Curry’s claims to suffer from “Rushing Women’s Syndrome”, saying the condition does not exist and warning the label could be harmful.
Curry, an Olympian, appeared on A Current Affair on Thursday night to blame the supposed hormone imbalance for the breakdown of her marriage to fellow athlete Grant Kenny.
Curry now sells her own range of hormone “balancing” supplements, which she claims can help women suffering similar symptoms.
Claims scorned: Medical professionals warn the public not to take Lisa Curry’s advice on “Rushing Women’s Syndrome”. Photo: Supplied
In the interview, Curry, 52, said that at times when married to Kenny she was “being an absolute bitch, a cow, angry and irritable for no reason”.
”I had days where I felt completely out of control,” she said. ”I was moody, I would cry for no reason, I wanted to kill the world.”
The term Rushing Women’s Syndrome was coined by nutritional biochemist Libby Weaver in her book of the same name.
Dr Weaver, who has not met Curry, said the Olympian had taken elements of RWS out of context.
“Having not met Lisa I don’t know if her definition of RWS is the same as what I have researched, written and talked about.”
She said she wrote the book to teach women how sex hormones and stress interact, and the impact of that on their physical and emotional health.
“I am not talking about depression, I am not talking about anxiety, I am not talking about those medical conditions,” she said. ”I am talking about women feeling like they have too much to do, day after day, year after year.
“Many women weren’t aware that when there is a perception of pressure it is driving a cascade of biochemical changes.
“I used Rushing Women’s Syndrome as a phrase to help educate people so they can begin a journey to better health.”
She said she was not aware of Curry’s supplements line until the story aired on A Current Affair.
“As a scientist I would need to understand the ingredients, their mechanisms of action and their proven efficacy before passing comment [on them],” she said.
General practitioner Ginni Mansberg said RWS was “a marketing term, not a medical term”.
“It’s rolling into one a set of non-specific symptoms … and giving simplistic answers,” she said.
John Eden, associate professor of reproductive endocrinology at the University of NSW, agreed.
“It’s a vague, nebulous term. What does it mean?” Dr Eden asked.
Dr Mansberg acknowledged that there was overlap between mental health and hormones.
She also said that some of Dr Weaver’s advice for coping with RWS, such as exercise and yoga and taking time out for yourself, was beneficial.
But there was a vast difference between needing to tweak your lifestyle and being in such bad shape that you lost your relationships, she said.
“Giving up coffee and loving yourself and taking a few supplements is fine if you don’t have serious mental health issues,” she said. “Not if you’re torpedoing your entire life and your relationships.”
Curry and Kenny, once considered Australia’s golden couple, split five years ago after 23 years of marriage. The couple had three children together, Jaimi, Jett and Morgan.
Curry said that in the aftermath she was given the option of antidepressants but knew she was not depressed. Instead, seeking the advice of a naturopath, she said she found balance with a ”happy hormone supplement”.
”Millions and millions of ladies are going through this around the world,” she said. ”It’s become such a big problem that the women think it’s normal.”
Dr Eden agreed that many of his patients were struggling to cope.
“I spend a lot of my day giving lifestyle advice,” he said. “I have patients saying, ‘I’m always tired, is it my hormones?’
“I say, ‘Well, possibly.’ “
He reiterated that lifestyle factors do play a part in our health and how we feel. He also said that he regularly sees women with “severe hormonal problems that are very easily managed”.
But mental health issues were different and the “implication that you can take something hormonal to fix it” is problematic, he said.
Dr Mansberg said such a notion can be dangerous.
“It buys into the stigma that you are a failure if you have a mental health problem,” she said. “There are moments when we think ‘I can’t cope’, but if you’re constantly overwhelmed, that’s not normal …
“If you’re feeling constantly miserable, no supplement out there will help.”
The advice to “love yourself”, reduce coffee or alcohol, and exercise, Dr Mansberg said, was “at worst a lethal issue” for those who were seriously depressed.