Menopause can be a challenging time for some women, and it can have a detrimental effect on relationships. However, with some advance preparation and knowledge you can support each other and enjoy this amazing chapter in your life.
Let me be clear though that menopause is experienced differently by each woman and some are lucky to sail through it. Many, however, do not connect the symptoms to menopause and shrug it off as signs of middle age and merely put up with it. There is no need to suffer in silence. Most women do not understand what is happening to them during menopause, so if the woman does not understand what chance do the men in their lives have?!
The decline of hormones during perimenopause and menopause can make many a woman think they are going crazy and, if you ask their significant other, they may well agree. Have your husband, partner or children told you that you have changed? Have you become emotionally and physically distant from your partner? Do your children or partner have to walk on eggshells around you? Are you always feeling tired? Cry at the drop of a hat? Have we as women considered how menopause might be affecting our relationships?
Mood swings, panic attacks, palpitations, forgetfulness, hot flushes, night sweats, depression, loss of confidence, trouble sleeping, fatigue, weight gain, aching joints and oh let’s not say it loudly but low sex drive and dry vagina are some of the symptoms which can be experienced by a woman and felt inadvertently by the partner. Anything sounds familiar here?
Did you know that during menopause a woman’s nutrient levels become low which has an effect on the brain? Low nutrient levels can cause a woman not to be able to function normally. At the same time levels of oestrogen start to fall and it’s the decline of hormones which causes many of the symptoms of menopause.
We need to abolish the taboo of menopause and openly talk about it at home and in the workplace so that menopause is accepted as a natural transition in a woman’s life. If women are armed with the right information well in advance, many would not be suffering in silence along with their partners.
Women can overcome the symptoms by getting themselves back into good nutritional shape and boost levels of oestrogen naturally through eating the right food and taking some supplements or by taking HRT prescribed by your doctor. Alongside the nutrition should be an exercise program which includes weight bearing exercises to help build and retain muscle and stress-reducing activities.
Here are some quick tips which can help support your you and your partner:
Educate yourself: This applies to both men and women. Many women feel lost and lonely at this time and support is more critical than ever.
Be patient: It’s a confusing time for both. It does not help to ask ‘when will this end?’ as quite frankly, the woman does not know either. On average menopause lasts four to eight years but every woman is different. Give her extra cuddles. Actually, this goes both ways.
You are not a mind reader: Ask your partner what she needs. Ladies tell him if you can.
Men walk away from the argument; save your energy and try not to respond to the snapping woman. Easier said than done I know.
Show her you love her: Weight gain and changing body shape can contribute to a woman’s loss of confidence. Sometimes all a woman needs is a hug and know she is loved.
Speak to your GP about intimate issues. Painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness caused by low oestrogen levels can be easily treated with pessaries, creams and lubricants.
Do some exercise activity together. Even if it’s walking together. Sometimes women just need a bit of motivation to get back on the exercise path.
Communication is key. Tell each other how you feel. Both men and women change physically and mentally as we age and we should look forward to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.
Get nutritionally fit: As we age our metabolism slows down and we do not need to eat as much food. Step away from the processed foods and enjoy time cooking and eating fresh, wholesome foods together as a family.
Find ways to de-stress: Stress is a silent killer. It adversely affects how our hormones and body operates. Stop worrying about things you have no control over.
One thing to remember is that menopause is a transitional period. A woman armed with the right information can recognise and address the symptoms experienced. If you are a woman reading this post, please share it with your husband, boyfriend, partner so they can help support and understand you.
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