MEN…do not stop reading when you see this title! Women make up 50% of the world’s population (well, just under!) and most men live, work, or socialise with women; they are hard to avoid! And at any one time across the globe 400 million women are experiencing Menopause! So, there’s no escape; but what is actually happening; knowing what’s going on can help everyone to understand and be more understanding.
Menopause marks a transition to the next phase of life, and it offers the possibility to refocus on growth and reconsider priorities. The experience can vary across cultures and there are suggestions that the cultural differences can shape the experiences. Some cultures celebrate the menopause as an achievement of wisdom and ageing while western culture often portrays it as negative, with a stigma around menopause and women’s experience. The word comes for the Greek; men – referring to month, therefore when there is a pause or stop in your monthly cycle.
For some women Menopause can be a tricky time; some women can struggle with their identity and personal view of themselves. It often coincides with children leaving home; average age of Menopause is 51 but the range is from 45-57, and leads to questions like: “Who am I now?” with no children at home I’m not a mother, can’t have children now…what’s my place and purpose in life? It can signify a loss and many women can feel less feminine, less beautiful, have less worth and feel less sexual.
Supporting your partner whilst they are going through Menopause can be difficult and challenging, my partner’s sage advice is “Keep quiet and keep your own counsel – it’s like the measles, it won’t last forever!” But knowing what the women in your life are going through can help! Some women will see a fall in libido, a drop in oestrogen and testosterone can lead to both physiological and emotional changes in a woman’s body, this coupled with vaginal dryness can have an impact on your sex life. Be patient, explore new ways to enjoy each other and sex, discuss your worries and work together to find the right solutions to support you both until this transient phase of life passes.
Some women will experience minimal symptoms whilst others have most of the common symptoms associated with Menopause which can potentially go on for a long time…as long as 20 years in some cases. Symptoms can range from the slightly irritating to totally debilitating and include bloating, hot flushes, tiredness, changes in hair and skin, aching limbs, mood changes, increased anxiety, Osteoporosis and heart disease. 1:4 women consider leaving their jobs due to the difficulties of menopause and dealing with the symptoms in the workplace.
There are a whole range of treatments available and it is important to talk to your GP if you are struggling to manage your symptoms. One of the mainstays of treatment is about lifestyle; being a healthy weight, regularly exercising, cutting down alcohol, caffeine and smoking and being mindful of diet. Our single top tip would be to take a regular daily dose of Omega 3 Fish oil; the recommended dose is 1000mcg a day but take 4000mcg; it works to ‘smooth-out’ mood, it just takes the edge off those peaks and troughs where you get snappy or have a shorter fuse than normal. It has been so effective for me that my partner now purchases a year’s supply at a time for me to take!!
And remember – they’re not hot flushes…they are power surges!