Because men will never go through the menopause, it can be difficult for them to relate to women going through it. After all, unless you’ve already experienced something yourself, it’s hard to fully understand what it entails. Right?
That’s why we couldn’t resist putting together this guide to the 5 things that men need to know about the menopause.
Show your partner, show your friends, show any male that you know(!) — and you may just find that they’re a little bit more understanding the next time you’re complaining about being tired due to lack of sleep or needing to have a window open during winter due to your hot flashes.
Being a woman going through menopause really is tough.
1. What It Actually Means to Go Through Menopause
First things first, men need to understand what it actually means to go through the menopause.
Menopause is usually diagnosed when a woman hasn’t had a period in 12 months. During this time, her oestrogen levels decline and she’s no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
The typical age for menopause to occur is between 45 and 55 years old, although around 1 in 100 women experience it before age 40. This is known as premature menopause.
2. It Doesn’t Just Happen Overnight
Women can go through perimenopause before menopause, which is when their body starts going through the transition. Because of this, they may experience menopause-like symptoms, such as mood swings, hot flashes, or vaginal dryness.
In fact, a woman’s menstrual cycle will start to shorten from the age of 20 until they reach perimenopause. Then when they do go through perimenopause, they could have a period after 10 days, 20 days or even 100 days.
In other words, menopause is a gradual process that can be confusing and frustrating both for the individual and the people around them.
3. It Can Seriously Affect Quality of Life
Women have so many symptoms to deal with when they’re going through the menopause — it’s not just about their periods stopping.
Other physical symptoms include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Brain fog
- Sleep deprivation
Oftentimes, thanks to these symptoms, they can no longer do what they used to be able to. This can be very challenging to come to terms with, which is why the emotional effects of menopause can be just as severe as the physical effects.
4. Every Experience is Different
The truth is, some women have a harder time than others and it’s important to be mindful of this. No woman or menstrual cycle is ever alike, so every woman will have a different experience of menopause.
Women will have various outlooks on their experiences too. It’s common for the menopause to lead to changes in mood and anxiety due to the body adjusting to declining levels of estrogen and progesterone.
These mood swings could also be down to the lack of sleep and energy from night sweats.
5. Body Shapes Will Change
Lastly, one side effect of menopause is that some women can experience slowed metabolism and weight gain (despite no changes in their eating habits!).
This change in body shape may cause low self-esteem for menopausal women. As such, it’s not uncommon for them to struggle with their confidence, sex drive and sexual pleasure.
How to Help the Lady in Your Life Go Through Menopause
Okay, guys — we’re speaking directly to you now. If you care a lot about the lady in your life and want to help her go through this transition as seamlessly as possible, there are some key things that you can do.
- Be Patient: Don’t take things personally. Understand that her mood swings aren’t aimed at you and help her to work through them. Allow her to adjust without adding to her stresses.
- Be Kind: Tell her she’s beautiful even when she’s not feeling it. Be a shoulder to lean on when she’s upset. Do fun things together to keep her spirits high.
- Don’t Be Demanding: Avoid pressuring her with anything if she’s struggling. Talk things through with her. Allow her to keep the window open when it’s cold if it’s going to ease her hot flashes!
Going through the menopause can be a tricky time in a woman’s life. As well as experiencing physical and emotional symptoms, they are likely out of their comfort zones because they won’t know what to expect.
Therefore, it helps if male partners, friends and family members are supportive. Make a conscious effort to navigate the journey together instead of assuming that they’re happy to go through it alone.