Many women don’t know what to expect when they reach menopause. And their partners are often even more clueless. Here’s some helpful tips to survive your wife’s menopause.
Menopause is the term that’s used when a woman’s menstrual cycle permanently stops. But it’s not as simple as this, and the hormonal changes that take place will affect her moods, her sex drive and her appearance.
These are some of the signs and symptoms of menopause to watch out for:
• Irregular periods
• Vaginal dryness
• Hot flushes
• Night sweats
• Sleep problems
• Mood changes
• Weight gain and slowed metabolism
• Thinning hair and dry skin
• Loss of breast fullness
Tips to survive the menopause – for him
Prepare for crankiness: Mood swings affect most women in menopause, and it’s often down to the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone as they surge and ebb in the body. This affects the moods as does the resulting poor sleep from hot flushes and night sweats. Tread lightly and remember she’s having a rough time too, so a little TLC will go a long way. Be as supportive as you can, and don’t take things personally.
Be understanding in the bedroom: Vaginal dryness is a big part of menopause caused by a drop in oestrogen levels, which dries out the tissue in and around the vagina. The walls of the vagina become so sensitive that even wiping with toilet paper can damage them, so sex can often be painful and unpleasant. Not only that, but the drop in the levels of the male hormone testosterone may also cause a drop in libido. Remember, “foreplay” begins at the beginning of the day with a kind word, a compliment, fixing her a cup of coffee.
But if she’s not in the mood, don’t take it personally. Be patient. Most women report getting their sex drive back after menopause.
Tell her she’s beautiful: With all that’s going on with her body it’s one of the times many women feel very out of control and, with the loss of their ability to reproduce, they could possibly feel they are “less of a woman”. Many women also find they gain weight during menopause, and with constant hot flushes they can easily feel unattractive. You can help here – spoil her. Not with things, but with your attention. Touch her, take her on a date, buy her flowers or run her a hot bath.
Be a good sounding board: Remember she’s never done this before either, and as much as she can try to understand what’s going on inside her body, the changes can often be overwhelming. So listen to her when she talks about it, try to do your own research to show her you’re interested in trying to understand what she’s going through. And listen – sometimes just let her talk and listen without interrupting.
Breathe! Remember that menopause isn’t forever – things do get better. The transition into menopause can last up to eight years or so, but most women feel their symptoms most acutely for only about two years.