Tips for supporting your loved one through Menopause
Mr Sen asked his wife when he returned home from the office, “Hey honey, how are you feeling today?”
Mrs Sen replied in a grumpy voice, “I’m feeling terrible!”
Mr Sen didn’t know how to put it hence he said, “Umm, I know.”
Mrs Sen turned furious and blasted on him, “What do you mean you know how I feel? Like you’ve had a hell of a day with your hormones! I don’t think you understand how my hormones work…you’re gonna make me do something that’ll end up on the news!”
While they share good chemistry with each other and it’s been over a decade they are married, such instances take place only to leave them baffled and feel guilty about the words exchanged!
Mrs Sen is approaching 50 and her hormones are making her ‘crazy’. Mr Sen is clueless about this ‘twist’ in his wife’s behavior.
‘This is the time of life’ – an unavoidable phase of a woman’s life. All women go through menopause. It can be a difficult time for a woman and a challenging experience for her partner. This is because menopause comes with a variety of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms. There are changes in the menstrual cycle and women may experience hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, insomnia, changes in skin and hair texture, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, and decreased libido. So, it’s important for you to be supportive and caring to your significant other during this time. In order to offer help and support, you must learn a few basic things about women menopause.
Here are a few tips to understand menopause better:
- Educate yourself – Learn as much as you can - ‘what is menopause?’, ‘what are menopause symptoms?’ Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but it may occur as earlier as ages 30s or 40s, or may not even occur until a woman reaches her 60s. Some women sail through menopause with hardly a symptom, but most experience varying degrees of menopause symptoms. Well, it’s not the same for everyone. Therefore, your job is to find how your partner feels about it and how you can help her cope with it.
- Encourage her to ‘talk and share’ – Acknowledge that this is a ‘different’ phase of her life and you want to support her in every possible way. Even if you don’t know what special you can do for her, just be there by her side, allow her to talk and share. If she doesn’t want to talk about it - relax - just knowing you’re there and supportive can make a huge difference.
- Be prepared to see different shades of her – Till date, you must have seen the ‘best of her’. Now, be prepared to see the ‘mix of her’. She can be your sweetheart a minute and a crabby wife in the other. Understand that the feelings and emotional disruptions she is undergoing are the result of dramatic hormonal changes. Her comments might be directed your way, but it’s the hormone talking in reality. So, try not to take her ‘mood swings’ personally and trouble yourself.
- Help her get a good night’s sleep – Insomnia and menopause symptoms such as hot flashes can severely disrupt her sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 61% of menopausal women have sleep problems. Lack of sleep can lead to other problems like daytime fatigue, irritability, and drowsiness. Therefore, practice good sleep habits together. Have a night routine – reading a book or listening to jokes together and fall asleep at the same time each night.
- Take it slow in the bedroom – The loss of estrogen and testosterone following menopause lead to changes in a woman’s body and sexual drive (like vaginal dryness). Therefore, you may notice that your partner is not as easily aroused and may be less sensitive to your touch. This may put you off but please understand that it’s her body which is changing with the time. You may want to relearn ways to express your desire towards your partner by initiating affection, closeness, and focus on emotional intimacy.
- Accompany her to the doctor – If you are seeing that menopause is taking all over her – emotionally and physically – and you don’t know how to help her – seek medical help. Doctors can help with symptoms of depression and also save her from complications of menopause (if any). It has been seen in many cases that menopause increases the risk of having bone-related issues like osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, depression, and weight gain.
It may seem like an unending nightmare but believe in the fact that it does end! The transition may take a few years but keep offering support and tender loving care. She would do the same for you.