Many men do not fully understand menopause or feel comfortable talking about it. However, it is important for men to learn what causes menopause symptoms so that they can help support their partners through the process.
What is menopause?
Menopause occurs due to the decrease in reproductive hormones around ages 40-50. It is diagnosed when a woman has gone 12 continuous months without a menstrual period.
The time before menopause (perimenopause) can last 8-10 years, and the time after menopause (postmenopause) can go on until the end of a woman’s life. Physical changes can likewise occur as the body adjusts to the changing levels of hormones. Symptoms during each phase of menopause (perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause) are all signs that the body is adjusting to these changes.
Men can deal with menopause by understanding the various changes and challenges women go through during the process.
What changes occur in a woman during menopause?
- Irregular periods: Periods may become irregular, which can either mean shorter periods or longer periods.
- Hot flashes: Many women experience hot flashes, which cause sudden warmth that spreads over the upper body and may result in sweating. This may be caused by the changing estrogen levels in the body and can continue for a long time even after menopause.
- Vaginal dryness: After menopause, sex can become painful because the vagina becomes drier. There may be less interest in sex.
- Mood changes: Menopause can cause irritability and mood swings. Researchers don't exactly know why this occurs but contributing factors may include stress, a history of depression, or fatigue.
Other symptoms and signs of menopause include the following:
5 ways men can help their female partners deal with menopause
- Keep up the romance: A woman needs to feel wanted, desired, and valued during this time. Instead of avoiding intimacy, embrace it as long as your partner is comfortable.
- Expect mood swings: Not every person going through menopause has mood swings. However, assuming these emotional episodes do occur, recognize that they are a natural part of the process. This can help you both manage and overcome them as a team.
- Make her feel beautiful: Many women feel less feminine or less attractive as they go through menopause. Help your partner feel confident in herself by telling her she still looks beautiful.
- Be compassionate: Menopause can cause physical and emotional changes that are difficult for your partner to cope with. Communicate openly and be patient with her.
- Get healthy together: Support your partner's physical health. Try doing yoga together and plan healthy meals together.
"Menopause." Cleveland Clinic. Oct. 5, 2021. <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21841-menopause>.
United States. NIH. Sept. 30, 2021. <https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause>.
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