The menopause is a significant time in any woman’s life, and husbands, partners and close family members should do all they can to be supportive and help make it as stress-free and manageable as possible. But, how can a man support their wife, sister or friend during menopause? Keep reading to find out our guide to offering your support.
What actually is the menopause?
Menopause simply refers to the end of monthly menstruation or periods that all women experience. It means their bodies no longer produce the eggs needed to get pregnant, and the hormones associated with this also drop. The medical definition of the menopause is specifically a single day, twelve months after the last menstrual bleed. Most women experience the menopause in their early 50s, though symptoms can begin much sooner.
Before the menopause is a period known as the peri-menopause where hormone levels fluctuate, and many women experience their first related symptoms. After the menopause is the time period up to 12 months after the last menstrual period and is known as the post-menopause. Some women continue to experience symptoms during this time. As the partner of someone experiencing the menopause and its related symptoms, it is important to be understanding, patient and compassionate during this time. Find out more about how your wife can treat menopause and the natural alternatives to HRT.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
The most common and obvious sign of the menopause approaching is a change in a woman’s usual menstrual cycle. As a partner, you may or may not know their cycle or be aware of changes.
However, other symptoms may become much more obvious as they include:
- Concentration issues: this could include periods of “brain fog”, forgetfulness and sleep problems
- Weight gain: obviously something not to comment upon!
- Hot flushes: these can occur any time of the day or night and can be embarrassing, so it is important to give your partner space and support them as they wish.
- Painful joints
- Changes in skin due to menopause
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings and irritability
- Vaginal dryness and pain
- Loss of libido
- Thinning hair or menopausal hair loss
It is important to note these symptoms can indicate other health problems, so communicating with your partner or being their to listen is vital to supporting them. Find out how Ceclia turned her menopausal hair loss around using Simone Thomas Wellness.
Why Menopause Is Such a Challenge for Women
It can be hard for men to recognise how symbolic and hard the menopause is. For many women, it signals the end of their opportunities for motherhood, which can be hard to overcome, even if children were never in the plan or are all grown up now. It also indicates that they are reaching the later stages of life. Understanding fears around ageing is something anyone should be able to relate to and understand. Furthermore, menopause can seemingly come from nowhere, and the hormonal changes can be difficult to get to grips with.
Talking about the menopause is also quite uncommon, and many women feel embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing how they’re feeling during this time. Significant changes to their body and appearance, such as thinning hair and altered body shape, can also impact a woman’s self-esteem and is a further consideration to keep in mind.
5 Ways You Can Support Your Partner During Menopause
1. Keep communication a priority
Your partner may or may not want to talk about what they’re going through, but you must be there to listen and communicate if they want to. Communication is vital for showing her you’re there for her and want to understand and help in any way possible. Just showing your available and that you understand can be really valuable and appreciated.
2. Don’t take it personally
Mood swings and unexpected outbursts, even tears, are likely to become more commonplace. This is normal, and while it feels strange and you first instinct is its your fault, you need to recognise it’s never a personal attack. The hormonal changes caused by the menopause lead to all kinds of irritations and difficulties, and outbursts may be just as upsetting or weird for your partner as they are for you. Remember, she’s going through significant changes, and you’re not, so you need to remain calm, understanding where possible and try not take any personal offence.
3. Be patient (especially in the bedroom)
Many couples find their sex life is impacted during the menopause. Hormonal and emotional changes can impact a woman’s libido, and she may find sex unappealing during this time. It’s important to be patient and understand the symptoms she may be going through. Everything from night sweats to sore vaginal dryness can impact your partner’s comfort and interest in sex, but the good thing is this is normally only for the short term. Being patient is vital, or you risk alienating her and making the menopause an even more difficult experience.
Less sex does not mean avoiding intimacy and time together completely. Find new ways to show you care and remember the importance of communication and understanding each other.
4. Offer encouragement & stay positive
Many women find it hard to feel like themselves during the menopause. They feel this hormonal change has taken over their personality, which can lead to depression, anxiety and issues with self-esteem and self-worth. As a supportive partner, it’s vital you take the helm when it comes to positivity. Recognise and let your partner know they are still the same person, the person you love, and their changes don’t impact that in any way. Reassuring her that any changes do not phase you may help her feel better about them.
5. Don’t let the romance slip
Your partner may be seriously struggling with her emotions and self-image. Not feeling herself paired with low self-esteem can mean she’s not really feeling up for romance – however that doesn’t mean it should slip! While she might not be in the most ‘giving’ period of her life, knowing that you still find her attractive or are keeping up the romantic gestures as before will really help. Those little romantic gestures are even more important and will help to feel supported throughout this difficult and emotional time. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Small yet heartfelt reminders of your love or even compliments and support will be really appreciated.
Those are our 5 tips to supporting a women during menopause! If you think your wife is experiencing or approaching menopause, we highly recommend taking these tips on board, she’ll really appreciate the time and effort you’ve gone to offer support!
Educate Yourself & Remember It’s Temporary
Education is key! Taking a laidback and uninvolved approach to the menopause does not show your support for your partner. You owe it to your relationship to spend some time learning and educating yourself on how your partner may be feeling during this significant change. Understanding common symptoms and taking the time to show you care will not only be appreciated by your partner but also make your life easier!
Always remember that menopause is temporary, and the symptoms will be gone before you know it. Providing the support your partner needs is vital to ensure they get through it without too much stress or upset.
More Helpful Information To Support Your Wife during Menopause
For more helpful information on menopause, remedies, advice and how she can feel better during menopause, download our FREE eBook on Understanding Female Anatomy, forward it to your partner and keep your relationship thriving during this challenging time.