Menopause is the natural phase of every woman’s life when the ovaries lose the ability to produce eggs, and natural pregnancy becomes impossible. As women increase in age, their childbearing ability declines. This is why it is easier for a woman in her 30s to get pregnant than a woman in her 40s.
Since menopause affects only women, modern society has succeeded in making it exclusively confined to women only. Studies have shown that most men know what menopause is, but they only see it as the time when a woman becomes unable to bear children. Most men in the United States have no idea of the complications and symptoms that come with menopause.
The ovaries are the main producers of estrogen, the female sex hormone, in the body. In most cases, the ability of the ovaries to produce estrogen decreases, giving room to numerous symptoms and complications commonly referred to as “menopausal symptoms.” The fluctuations in hormone levels caused by ovarian failure during menopause give room to symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, bloating, fatigue, night sweats, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, anxiety, depression, brain fog, memory loss, vaginal itching, and low libido.
Women react differently to menopause, so the severity of symptoms varies from one woman to another. For some women, the symptoms of menopause are only mild, and they go on to live very healthy lives. For other women, their menopausal journey is accompanied by severe symptoms that make their menopausal journey excruciating.
As a compulsory phase of every woman’s life, menopause can cause significant changes to various aspects of life. Menopause doesn’t just affect the physical aspects of life; it affects the mental, sexual, and emotional aspects of life. Menopause can make you less productive, menopause can make you say no to the sexual advances of your partner, and menopause can make you embrace classical music; just kidding, though.
Menopausal Symptoms through the Lens of a Man
Menopause comes with changes in the body which, in turn, leads to more changes in a relationship. In most cases, husbands are caught off-guard when their wives go through cycles of menopausal symptoms. When menopause steps in and the wife become more forgetful than before, the husband might be overly frustrated.
In the United States, one of the major reasons for loss of interest between marriage partners is changes in the physical features of one of the partners. Unfortunately, menopause can cause more than physical changes. Changes in skin texture, irritability, low libido, anxiety, depression, and even weight gain are just some conditions women become more vulnerable to on getting to menopause. Sometimes, menopausal symptoms can become too overwhelming that the husband might find it difficult to cope with the imminent changes in lifestyle. During menopause, more than ever, women need their partners.
Many women have seen their living standard drop on getting to menopause, while other women haven’t experienced any significant changes in their bodies. In a nutshell, the body’s reaction to menopause changes from one woman to another. You might experience only mild hot flashes, and your friend might develop dementia.
Menopause is too delicate and complicated to be handled alone. Due to the symptoms and complications associated with menopause, doctors recommend a strong support system. From medications to lifestyle and diet options, maintaining a smooth transition into menopause can be tasking, but with the help of a partner, it can be less tasking. Mutual understanding between partners is paramount to ensuring optimal marital satisfaction during menopause.
Being a Supportive Partner
Menopause is not a sickness, and it cannot be reversed. However, the symptoms and complications that come with menopause can be effectively managed and even alleviated. Most menopausal women are familiar with several options for treating menopausal symptoms.
However, studies have shown that menopausal women, who engage in treatment options for their symptoms with a strong support system, are more likely to see speedy improvements in their menopausal symptoms. Generally, partners of menopausal women should know a few things about menopause. With some knowledge of the concept of menopause, husbands can know what to do or how to react when unusual symptoms come knocking.
As men, understanding menopause shouldn’t be a difficult thing. Since understanding the dynamics of your wife during pregnancy wasn’t that difficult (I guess), then menopause shouldn’t, right? There have been several cases of frustration from men when women get moody without any noticeable cause.
Several men in the US have gone to a divorce court because whenever they try to make sexual advances toward their wives, the phrases “maybe another time” and “I’m not in the mood” are likely to be made. During menopause, there are certain things women want men to know, but as usual, the men never seem to understand. Fortunately, we have comprehensively explained some of the most common things women want men to know during menopause.
Mental disorders during menopause
Fluctuating hormones caused by ovarian failure affect several important areas of the body; unfortunately, mental health isn’t left out. Menopausal women are twice more likely to experience problems like dementia and depression than men. In a woman’s body, the estrogen hormones, among other things, are responsible for regulating menstruation.
Other than that, they also facilitate the production of serotonin. When menopause steps in and estrogen levels drop, the production of serotonin reduces. While this may look like a small problem, it is important to know that the serotonin hormone is responsible for promoting happiness and well-being. This means that when the level of serotonin reduces, increased levels of sadness, anxiety, and irritability might be experienced. Menopausal women are also more vulnerable to sleep problems, which might contribute to mental problems.
Most men can’t just deal with oversensitive women or women who always complain about little home changes. When worrying cases of depression, anxiety, and irritability step in, having a supportive partner is extra important.
Now to the men, when your partner is depressed, when she spends more time alone, when she begins to take more alcohol than permissible, and when she becomes uninterested in activities or sex, what do you do? Do you take a drive to clear your head, or do you encourage her to get help? It is important to know that issues like anxiety and depression during menopause only last for a short time.
If it lasts longer, then that is a big problem. When waves of the mental disorder come, you may feel hurt and alienated from the rejections and withdrawals. However, the best thing to do is to help her get help and not push her away. After all, studies have shown that creating a vicious circle towards your partner will only make the depression worse and, in most cases, is accompanied by anger and increased alienation.
Mental disorders can be normal during menopause, and during this time, staying positive and seeking help for your partner will go a long way in helping her deal with it. As a start, you can binge-watch her favorite show with her or take her to a place she enjoys going. Dealing with mood disorders from your partner can be difficult but no matter what, always remember that it isn’t aimed at you.
Low Libido during Menopause
Hormone fluctuation during menopause is linked to almost every menopausal symptom. Studies have shown that the decline in estrogen levels could cause problems like vaginal dryness and vaginal itching, making intercourse painful and discomforting, hence the decline in sexual desire. Generally, your desire for sexual activities decreases as you age, and in most cases, it is triggered by menopause.
A decline in estrogen can disrupt the fluid flow to the vagina, leading to vaginal dryness. Also, estrogen fluctuations can tamper with the pH levels of the vagina, which may irritate burning and itching. In the end, libido is heavily depreciated, and sex shifts from an act of pleasure to an act of obligation.
In the United States, many marriages have encountered problems due to bedroom issues. When the woman cannot return the sexual advances of their partners, the sex life of the relationship is heavily depreciated, leading to the development of certain relationship problems.
As men, it is important to know many cases of low sexual drive in menopausal women are not intentional. Many women today try so hard to engage in sexual activities with their partners, but in the end, they are only doing more harm as engaging in intercourse could cause injuries to the vaginal tissues. Also, the problem of irritability and mood swings may affect libido to the extent that your woman won’t even be able to engage in basic activities of intimacy. Low libido during menopause won’t last for a long time and, fortunately, can be well managed.
Vaginal dryness can be well treated with lubricants, and low libido can be managed with medications, lifestyle options, and diet changes. As a man, you can support your partner in getting the best treatment options. Pressuring your partner for sex isn’t the right way to go and will often lead to further complications. Pressuring for sex can lead to more mental issues as your partner tries hard to satisfy your sexual desires when she should be getting treatment. Always be willing to converse respectfully regarding these issues as a couple.
Menopause and Physical Symptoms
Hot flashes and night sweats, collectively known as vasomotor symptoms, are the most common symptoms of menopause. Studies have shown that more than 70 percent of menopausal women experience varying severity of vasomotor symptoms. Some other symptoms of menopause include cardiovascular disease, which causes problems like diabetes, stroke, and problems with blood pressure; osteoporosis which leads to the fragility of bones; certain cancers like breast cancer and endometrial cancer; and other symptoms like skin dryness, loss of hair, weight gain, and eye dryness. However, it is important to know that most menopausal women only experience a few menopausal symptoms, but since women react differently to menopause, the severity of the symptoms might vary.
Hot flashes can make your wife stay awake all night with the air-con working tirelessly. She might sweat profusely at night, making the mattress a bit uncomfortable for you. She might wake you up in the middle of the night to engage you in “unnecessary” conversations due to the inability to sleep. It is important to support and not cast away all of these.
When you just met her, your wife or partner’s body is most likely to change over time. As your partner gets older, she becomes more vulnerable to certain illnesses not just caused by menopause but also influenced by aging. This is just one of the many reasons menopausal women need your support, encouragement, and presence to help them with their menopausal journey.
Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms: The Role of Men
Menopausal symptoms can be effectively treated. While menopause is compulsory, its symptoms aren’t, and by adopting certain measures, you can almost be sure of a smooth transition with few complications. There are several treatment options for menopausal symptoms, and they have proven to be quite effective. Hormone therapy, lifestyle options, and diet changes are regarded as the best treatment and management options for the symptoms of menopause.
There are several medical options for menopausal symptoms, and most of them have proven to be quite effective in helping to alleviate menopausal problems. Generally, medications are the first treatment options for menopausal symptoms, but since women react differently to menopause, other treatment options can be recommended by doctors to some women.
Many women worldwide do not fancy the idea of medications for their problems. They’d rather try out other options before settling for medications. However, medications can be the most effective treatment option for many menopausal women.
Hormone therapy is the most common medication for menopausal symptoms. Since hormone levels fluctuate during menopause, putting more hormones into the body has proven to help alleviate symptoms caused by hormone decline. Hormone therapy aims at reducing menopausal symptoms by injecting specific hormones into the body to help create a balance in the body’s hormonal levels. Husbands can encourage their wives to try medications for their symptoms, especially when other treatment options aren’t effective enough.
Hormone therapy is associated with many risks, and studies have shown that long-term use could cause problems like hypertension and certain cancers. Generally, the doctor will serve as a comprehensive guide for hormone therapy treatment, but a partner can serve as a strong support system, something she needs more than ever.
Besides hormone therapy, supplementation has also proven to help menopausal women with their symptoms. For example, calcium supplements can help with osteoporosis, and black cohosh can help with vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, and irritability. After a doctor’s prescription, men can help their partners to stay on track and adhere to the right dosage of supplements for their partner’s menopausal symptoms.
Getting Your Partner to Exercise
The effectiveness of exercises in helping to manage several menopausal symptoms has been proven severally in many studies. Due to the risks involved in hormone therapy, more women are opting for lifestyle options like exercise and other physical activities to help them with their menopausal problems.
Menopausal women who engage in exercise were less likely to experience severe symptoms of menopause. Problems like weight gain, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and even vasomotor symptoms, can be alleviated by engaging in specific exercises. However, active participation in exercises can be difficult for your partner. This is where you come into the picture.
A study by JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that women with physically active partners were five times more likely to become physically active. As men, you don’t have to hit the gym all the time to prove a point. You can start by going on a bike ride with your partner or even encouraging her to use the stairs instead of the elevator.
You can make exercises fun for your partner by focusing more on conventional exercises than traditional ones. Playing basketball and walking in the park regularly can go a long way in helping your wife manage her menopausal symptoms. Not only are you helping your wife get fit, but you are also helping the relationship stay stronger.
Exercises help in the promotion of bonding. Active participation in exercises with your partner can help boost your mood and improve general well-being. Studies have shown that partners who work out together are more likely to be happy and experience few itches in their relationship.
Helping Her Stick To a Healthy Diet Plan
Healthy diet options have been quite effective for managing menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown that fruits, vegetables, and certain food products can be taken as an alternative to hormone therapy. While diet plans are considered as effective as hormone therapy, several women have significantly improved their menopausal symptoms by eating the right foods.
Studies have shown that caffeinated products, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages, might aggravate menopausal symptoms in some women. Your partner might decide to take some of these foods, and that’s fine. However, as recommended by a doctor, you can help her stay on track in making the right diet options.
For a start, you can share her diet plans with her. Instead of her going with a separate diet from the general diet of the home, you can teach some of her diet options on your own to share the experience and ensure adherence. Before you can help your partner with her menopausal symptoms, understanding the concept of menopause is important. Men should be able to study healthy diet options for menopausal women and help them stick to them.
Eating the right foods can help with vasomotor symptoms, cardiovascular diseases, weight gain, osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, and mood disorders.
When to See a Doctor
A doctor’s appointment could be the best thing you can do for yourself in your menopausal journey. As you get support from family and friends in your menopausal journey, you can also help yourself get better by being well conscious of your body. Irregular menstruation is usually the first sign of menopause, and it is important to seek help during this period.
As you approach your late 40s, you should get ready for menopause, and to ensure a smooth transition from perimenopause into menopause; you should start taking measures to prevent severe complications. The best way you can help yourself is through a doctor’s appointment.
What Studies Say
According to Forbes, more than 70 percent of menopausal women do not treat their symptoms. Many women today are living with varying severity of menopausal symptoms without taking any forms of treatment. While death from menopausal symptoms isn’t common, many women live below standard due to menopausal symptoms. She often needs someone to motivate and support her in getting treatment.
According to the National Institute of Aging, more than 1 million women go into menopause each year, and menopause is still not a well-known topic today. Many mothers and women in families may begin to experience certain symptoms as they approach their mid-ages and family members have no idea the symptoms are caused by menopause. Today, more women are adopting self-medication procedures for their menopausal problems without knowing that their actions aggravate the symptoms. Husbands aren’t doctors, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be involved in your menopausal journey.
Even with more women now in menopause, people outside menopause do not extensively know the concept of menopause. Menopause is regarded as an all-women affair, which has made men and women who aren’t in menopause totally ignorant of menopause.
Menopause exposes the body to many complications that, in many cases, can be severe. When menopausal symptoms come knocking, optimal support is well needed. In most cases, husbands and partners do not know so much about menopause that when symptoms show in their partners, they do not know how they can help. In the United States, sensitization on menopause is growing, making more men understand what menopause is and the role they play in helping their partners in their menopausal journey.
Menopause is not a disease; it is a natural phase every woman must undergo. However, the symptoms of menopause have made many women see it as a sickness. Managing menopause is a collective effort that often requires the entire family’s effort. With this, do not be ashamed when seeking help or explaining certain aspects of this delicate phase to your partners, family, and friends.