Navigating Menopause Together: 9 Essential Tips for Supporting Your Partner
Welcome to our guide for partners during this important transition.
Menopause can be a challenging time when you are neither aware of what menopause is or how to access the right support.
As a partner, you can play a vital role in helping your loved one navigate this key stage of life.
Here are nine tips to help you provide the support your partner needs during menopause.
Firstly, understand what menopause is:
Menopause is a natural stage of life that marks the end of the reproductive years. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 and is defined as the absence of menstruation for 12 consecutive months. Menopause is caused by a decrease in the production of hormones, particularly estrogen, by the ovaries.
It is preceded by a phase called perimenopause when your partner will still be having periods, and might experience longer or shorter lengths of time between them and bleeds may become heavier or lighter. This is also the time when symptoms may begin to appear.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
The symptoms of menopause can vary widely across each person, but some common symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Your partner may also experience vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive, and joint pain.
The list is not definitive and please remember, everyone is different. The right help and support is crucial to a successful transition through menopause.
How can I support my partner during menopause?
The best way to support your partner during menopause is to be patient, understanding, and empathetic.
Fine tuning your listening skills is key. Communication is so important to help you both work out what will be the best way to support each other at this time.
Encourage your partner to talk about her symptoms and how they are feeling. Be there to listen and offer comfort and support. Help with household tasks and offer to take over some of the responsibilities they may be struggling with.
Please avoid the temptation to tell your partner what to do, dismiss their symptoms, and most importantly, please, do not take the changes that your partner is experiencing personally!
It is just a temporary phase.
I've never seen my partner so 'hot'
Hot flushes - or hot flashes - are one of the more common symptoms of menopause.
Everyone is different and there is no one way to minimize hot flashes. For some people hot flashes, can be one of the most uncomfortable and annoying symptoms of menopause. In some people they are a short burst of sudden intense heat in the upper body and head area, for others they last longer and cover more of the body. Some people may never experience a hot flush and others, several every hour of the day.
The types of things that may help are dressing in breathable fabrics and wearing light layers - is also common to get the chills as well as hot flushes; having a fan or access to air conditioning and cold drinks.
I've noticed my partners moods change more.
Mood swings can be a common symptom of menopause, and they can be difficult to manage. The best thing you can do is to be patient and understanding. Encourage your partner to take time for themselves and engage in activities that they enjoys.
Check in and ask if they wish to have alone time, or, time together. Offer to help with jobs around the house, the cooking and washing up and other tasks your partner typically picks up, or take care of the children so your partner can have some much-needed time to relax.
It's 'covers on, covers off' in our house and the window is always open, even in the winter!
Sleep disturbances are another common symptom of menopause. To help your partner manage sleep disturbances, try and co-create a regular morning and bedtime routine.
Taking time to unwind from the day, step away from the glare of screens, try a warm bath (for some people this will be too stimulating close to bed time), reading a book, or listening to relaxing music can all help.
I'm a big advocate of journalling too; it helps empty the mind of the noise of the day and is a wonderful way to capture three things that you are grateful for.
If you can work together and minimise caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods in the evening, this can really help as these can interfere with sleep.
I can't recall the last time we were intimate.
Vaginal dryness can be uncomfortable and painful for some women; this is very real and something that can be very difficult for someone to talk about.
As a partner, it can be difficult to feel your loved one shying away from intimacy, or witness them experiencing vaginal dryness and pain when you are intimate.
It is so important for you both to talk about how you are feeling and know that as your relationship has weathered many changes over the years, this is simply one more change to talk about, and explore options
To support your partner, consider finding a quiet time, when you have time to talk, and having an open and honest conversation about their experience.
Be ready to share how it is affecting you - choosing language that centres on you and your feelings - not blaming and making it about your partner. Suggest exploring solutions together, finding other ways to be close, and keeping the lines of communication open as you do.
I am a big fan of JoDivine as a great resource for both products and information on this topic, so consider visiting their website for guidance and options. Remember, your partner needs your understanding, patience, and support during this time. By working together, you can find a solution that works for both of you.
How can I help my partner maintain a healthy lifestyle during menopause?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important during menopause; well, let's face it, it is always important!
Why not gently reduce the processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol and caffeine in your diet together? Boost your hydration levels by increasing your water intake.
Consider take up a new activity that you can enjoy together?
How can I educate myself about menopause?
Educating yourself about menopause is an important step in providing support to your partner.
Consider reading books or online resources about menopause and its symptoms. Join the FREE Menopause The Basics course to build your knowledge. Click HERE to find out when the next course is.
Menopause is a natural and important stage of life, and, without the right help and support, it can be a challenging time.
You can play a critical role in providing the support your loved one needs during this transition and help maintain the strength and closeness in your relationship.
What have you found helpful living with someone going through menopause? Share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Trainer, Speaker & Coach
CEO & Founder of Women of a Certain Stage
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
Photo by Logan Weaver on Unsplash