Menopause Support Guide for Men
The Menopause Support Guide
Dear husbands, partners, and other special men in every woman’s life, this page is devoted to you. Our mission is to help women navigate menopause but to achieve this, you are a crucial member of the team. The woman in your life needs you in her corner more than ever now. This menopausal transition she is going through can be very tough on her, but it can also affect you and the whole family. To be able to see through the difficulty, you need to understand what is going on.
What is menopause?
Simply put, menopause a natural phase in every woman’s life. It is the end of menstrual periods for women. At this point, the ovaries stop releasing eggs. The reproductive hormone levels drop to a point where the monthly menstrual cycle finally stops. Modern medicine defines menopause as the day when 12 months have passed since the last menstruation. The average age for women to reach menopause is 51. The stage before menopause is called perimenopause and can last up to a decade. This is the phase in which the hormones fluctuate while slowly dropping. Only 20% of women do not experience any issues during perimenopause, but a full 80% will have problems as they go through this transition. For some women, perimenopause can be very difficult. The issues a woman faces can even be debilitating – affecting many areas of their lives and the lives of the people around them. These changes begin for some women in their late 30s, but, for the majority, they start in their 40s. Most women don’t recognize them as perimenopause and may attribute them to stress or other life challenges such as creating a home, raising children, and building careers. This whole process from perimenopause to postmenopause can last for a very long time, but for most women, it lasts between 4 to 7 years.
From a medical point of view, post-menopause begins after the day that defines menopause (which is one year from the last period). Most women think that once they are past the 1-year mark after their last menstrual cycle, they will not have any more menopausal issues. However, for some women, these issues can continue for several years. Women who had hysterectomies, particularly those who had their ovaries removed, experience sudden menopause called surgical menopause or medical menopause. This can also happen after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Naturally occurring menopause is difficult enough for most women if unsupported, but surgical menopause or medical menopause can be devastating when women do not get good advice and medical care. A number of women will have premature menopause, which can happen in their 30s, 20s, and even teens. Some cases are genetic, but the reason is unknown for most of these cases. Both the physical and emotional repercussions of premature menopause must not be taken lightly. In these cases, expert medical and psychological support is necessary. What happens when hormone levels start to drop or fluctuate? The three main hormones that cause all menopausal changes are Oestrogen*, Progesterone, and Testosterone.
* Estrogen, or oestrogen, is a category of sex hormone responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. There are three major endogenous estrogens that have estrogenic hormonal activity: estrone, estradiol, and estriol.
There are oestrogen receptors are found over almost all of a woman’s body. Scientists hypothesize that this is the reason that each woman’s experiences are so different from another. Progesterone is the hormone that not only regulates monthly cycles and maintains pregnancy but is also one of the main calming hormones. Levels of this hormone are the first to drop, sometimes quite rapidly, causing women to feel irritable, tense, and anxious. Many women describe their state as being in a mild depression. In this phase oestrogen levels also begin to fluctuate, often quite drastically, causing a range of issues related to menopause. Some of the most common issues are hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, brain fog, fatigue, loss of libido, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and soreness, to name a few. If the woman does not recognize them as perimenopausal problems, they can seem disturbing and can cause confusion not only for the woman but for everyone around her. Women in early perimenopause often have very little information about how early it can start. Therefore, they assume the issues they are experiencing are due to other causes.
From a medical point of view, post-menopause begins after the day that defines These fluctuations of oestrogen can happen on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis. The woman can be happy one moment and very sad or angry the next. It can happen suddenly, almost for no reason. Her hormones are controlling her emotions; they are not under her control. These situations are very difficult to handle for a partner or other family members, but if you want to help her, try and imagine what being in her shoes must be like. It is a very scary time when a woman feels like even she doesn’t know herself. The feelings she has seem very real, and she can feel out of control. The hormone testosterone, which is a hormone associated with men, aggression, and sex drive, plays a big part in the biology of both men and women. Testosterone levels are responsible for bone strength, muscle mass, and the feeling of self-confidence for women. Just as men experience lower levels of testosterone as they age, women do too. For some, the levels fall more rapidly than others. In particular, there is a drastic drop in testosterone levels for women whose ovaries have been removed.
Many women experience reduced libido, some to the point of total disinterest in sex. There are ways to bring it back, but she will need her partner’s help and support.
Here are our tips on how you can help your partner:
Learn about menopause
The more you educate yourself on this subject and what she is going through, the better the support you can offer her. It will also be easier for you to cope with any changes that may be happening in your relationship. Women feel very lonely and lost in this phase. Your understanding, patience, love, and help are vital.
Ask her what she needs from you
The more you educate yourself on this subject and what she is going through, the better the support you can offer her. It will also be easier for you You need to let her know that you will be there for the long haul. Neither of you knows how long this period in her life will last. She, as well as you, would obviously like to know when it will end, but it is difficult to predict. No matter how close you are, neither of you has been in this situation before. It is a sensitive period, and she is going through unfamiliar challenges both emotionally and physically. Ask her what she needs from you and be the support she needs.
Give her space and time she needs
The more you educate yourself on this subject and what she is going through, the better the support you can offer her. It will also be easier for you You need to let her know that you will be there for the long haul. Neither of you knows how long this period in her life will last. She, as well as you, would Give her the space she needs: It is not about her not wanting to be with you; she may just need to be by herself in order to reflect and rediscover and redefine who she is. Try to see it as her not cutting you out but just needing solitude and time to process all the changes that are happening to her. Be there to listen when she tries to explain and don’t try to come up with solutions; listening empathetically is enough.
Let it go and walk away
Let it go when she can’t control her temper. Her estrogen levels are on a seesaw. They affect her nerve receptors in such a way that she can come across as aggressive and snappy. We know it is hard but just try to breathe, walk away and let it go. It is not easy; we know, but it is better than engaging at such times. She is in her own turmoil and feeling helpless. It will pass.
Help her seek medical help if her issues are severe
If issues are severe, encourage your partner to see a medical professional. For most women, this is a normal phase in life and not an illness or a “condition”. Still, sometimes the problems women experience are so severe that they do need the help of a medical professional. Be there for her; go to the appointment with her if she wants you to. Many women experience heightened anxiety during this stage. Be the support she needs.
Good communication is essential
If she was prone to anxiety before, it can become crippling in this phase. Her self-confidence can suffer. If you try to cheer her up and she snaps or refuses, she may prefer to stay by herself on the sofa. Try not to get offended. She will get up in her own time. Give her the space that she needs. That does not mean you should stop living for a few years. Good communication is essential. Have a conversation where you agree on how to deal with difficult times. You also need to feel supported and understood. DO not ignore your own wellbeing.
Make home a safe haven for her
If she is working, she is likely to be under extra stress at work, just trying to hold it together. This can be an additional emotional burden. Home may be the only place she feels secure, protected, and a place where she can let her guard down. Make is a safe haven for her, don’t add to the stress.
Give her reassurance
Women often become acutely aware of their bodies and focus on the signs of aging, which can cause damage to their body image. She can become very insecure. Give her reassurance and show her love. She really needs reassurance at this time.
Introduce new healthy habits
If she is willing, encourage her to change your diet to a healthier one and even offer to exercise together. Exercise is one of the best ways to help her overcome many of the issues of menopause. Don’t be forceful or try to make her do it. Pull out some research to show her that there are things that can help with her insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, anxiety, depression, weight gain, to name just a few. Get her to read some of our blog posts on how to take better care of herself.
Sex in menopause
Sex can become more complicated for many couples in this phase in life. Many menopausal women suffer from vaginal dryness, causing painful sex. This is also brought on by vaginal tissue deterioration and low or almost no libido. Sex is an important part of intimacy in any relationship, but menopause can have adverse effects that have to be handled with care and patience. This can cause feelings of frustration, anxiety, and rejection in men. Again, it is not you; her body is changing, and this has a direct influence on her brain. Her hormones are playing a number on her desire for sex or are causing vaginal dryness and pain. Be open and loving. Talk to her but don’t make her feel guilty because she really is not in control of what is happening. There are many ways to intimate. Sometimes, it is as simple as getting a suitable natural lubricant. Seek help if needed.
Keep the communication going
Good communication is the secret to coming through this period successfully and with an even stronger relationship. There is very little education about menopause, and women are sometimes just as surprised as you are when it all starts happening to them. Discuss all of the issues in time before it causes damage to your relationship. When a partner is supportive in difficult times, it helps a relationship grow and strengthen. So, despite the challenges of menopause, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and life can be quite rich and exciting for both of you.
You learn to laugh and enjoy life even more on the other side. There is light at the end of the tunnel. “Menopause can be a challenging time for any couple but it doesn’t have to be. The key is to be prepared so that you can approach this time in your lives with the knowledge to help you support each other through it and on towards a new chapter in your lives. Menopause is not just a women’s issue, if you know a woman or love a woman you need to know about menopause.” Diane Danzebrink