It goes without saying that menopause isn’t always a smooth ride. It can be a very difficult adjustment period for a lot of women, affecting physical and mental health, hormones, and even libido. These symptoms can affect women in countless ways, and can often put a strain on relationships.
I believe that there is a healthy way to regard age management, and on the latest episode of the Dating and Relationship Show, I sat down with show regular Dr. Claudia Machiella and naturopathic Dr. Makoto Trotter to discuss the natural ways you can alleviate menopausal symptoms and take control of this transition. We also discussed the ways men and women can work as a team to preserve their relationship during this period.
So how exactly can menopause affect relationships?
During perimenopause and menopause, a woman’s hormone levels begin to change; this can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and the notorious hot flashes. Naturally, this can cause a strain in a relationship due to irritability. This may lead to sudden anger or frustration, catching their partner off guard. Additionally, women will often experience anxiety and depression, and this sudden instability can greatly impact relationships.
Sleeping can become an issue during menopause as well – night sweats are a common symptom, and a disrupted sleep for one partner usually translates to a disrupted sleep for the couple.
Due to the hormones changes we discussed earlier, levels of libido may also reduce. Low sex drive is very common, and many women will lose interest in sex – this can be a huge adjustment for their partners, and may lead to hurt feelings. Furthermore, the low levels of estrogen that occur can cause the tissues around the vagina to become thinner, drier and potentially even inflamed. Naturally, sex may become a lot more painful, which can be frustrating to a couple who was used to a healthy sex life previously.
It’s crucial that both partners work together during this time! So here are some tips on how to get through menopause with your partner.
Be understanding. This is a time when a woman can feel insecure, and displaced within her own body. These changes are foreign to her, and being understanding and supportive goes a long way. Don’t criticize her or make her feel worse about herself.
Communication is key – don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. If you know more about what she is going through, you can better understand what she needs to feel better, and also understand her triggers. Ask what YOU can do. She’ll appreciate it.
Tell her she’s beautiful and that you love her. During menopause, a woman can go through a lot of outward changes, including hair loss and weight gain. She may not be feeling great about herself, so hearing loving, complimentary statements could be the perfect boost to her day.
More date nights! Be romantic, make her the focus.
If she has to make lifestyle changes to treat her symptoms (diet, exercise), join her! She’ll feel completely supported and it will help you two build a connection over a common goal.
Be understanding if she needs a little space for herself. Let it ride out.
If she’s not in the mood for sex, don’t take it personally.
Find natural ways to treat your symptoms! There are countless herbs and supplements that can make a huge difference. Same with proper eating and exercise habits. Don’t wallow; be proactive and do what you can to take control of how you’re feeling.
Know that you’re not alone – if you can, build a support group with other women going through menopause. Sometimes it helps to just vent a little to those who know exactly what you’re talking about.
Communicate with your partner – they can’t help you unless you let them! If you get hot flashes at night and keep kicking off the duvet, maybe the air needs to be turned up, or maybe you two can think of a better blanket situation. Things can’t be fixed unless they are properly addressed.
Self-care all the way – buy that cool new moisturizer, take the luxurious bubble bath. Whatever you need to do to feel beautiful and confident in your skin, do it. You deserve to be pampered.
Be receptive to treatment options or creative adjustments when it comes to sex.
Be positive! Positive affirmations can go a long way. Your mind is strong, so use it to help you through this time. No down-talking yourself – you’re better than that.
Try yoga or meditation – this can be amazing if you’re experiencing anxiety.
Menopause is a huge transition for women, but if you stay informed and prepared, you can prevent it from controlling your life and relationship. To learn more about menopause and the natural ways to ease common symptoms, listen to the latest episode of The Dating and Relationship Show.