Learning how to support women during menopause can be a valuable skill that not many people have. Fortunately, there are things you can do, and teach others to become more supportive of how to support those who are going through menopause.
Many women are changing the narrative surrounding menopause, and openly discussing the topic with their friends, learning from one another and other’s experiences.
Menopause is a shared experience. Providing support to others during a time when they need it most enables them to feel more comfortable sharing the difficult changes they are experiencing. For others, learning more about how to support women going through menopause exposes them to better understanding of the mental and physical considerations, learning how to be patient, and building a healthy relationship with open communication.
Communication and Emotional Support
Finding a common ground can help you become a better communicator and understand how support your partner, friend and enrich a woman’s life that have symptoms of menopause.
Importance of Open Communication
Keep an open and active line of communication between you and the person you’re looking to support. Make sure that you can stay connected to them, either by sending a text message several days a week, scheduling a call, or maybe meeting them for lunch.
See in which direction the conversation flows. Some days you might find yourself discussing at length related symptoms they have experienced, other times you might find that the person wants to talk about anything except menopause. Learn how to pick up on the subtleness of the conversation and how your communication efforts can help support them.
Recognizing and Responding to Mood Swings
Understand that not every part of menopause will be easy for them, nor you. Make sure that you know when a person might be dealing with mood swings, and how that can impact your relationship. Keep in mind that this is only temporary, and often a reaction towards other things.
Make an effort to stay calm, and observe. Openly communicate that you understand their discomfort, and what you can do to help them. Understand what the things maybe that are triggering them, and consider how a calm atmosphere can help them feel less anxious or reactive.
Take A Look At Does Menopause Affect Friendships?:
Physical and Mental Health Considerations
Another consideration is the physical and mental discomfort many women tend to experience during menopause. Make an effort to understand what you can do to help alleviate some of this discomfort.
Addressing Physical Symptoms like Hot Flushes and Joint Pain
Try to avoid downplaying the severity of something like hot flushes and joint pain. The best way to stay informed is to educate yourself on these symptoms, understanding what may cause them, and what possible solutions a person can try to alleviate some of the discomfort.
When asked, or discussing the topic of menopause or hot flushes, consider asking whether they have tried specific exercises, changing their diet and lifestyle habits, or taking a dietary supplement. The best thing is to ensure you are clued up about the various changes a woman might experience in menopause, and what solutions may be most effective for them.
Supporting Mental Well-being: Dealing with Anxiety and Depression
Having someone to talk to is the most important thing for any person struggling with mental health problems. Although you might not be a trained professional, or have all the right answers, being there for someone, and knowing that they can depend on you can help to lighten the burden of menopause-induced anxiety and depression.
Make sure that you can provide a clear line of communication to them when they need it. You may want to be clear about your intentions and inform them that you are available to talk when they need you and that you are only a call or text away.
Nurturing Intimacy and Relationships
Menopause affects not only women but also their relationships with those around them, including their partners, families, and friends.
Being Patient and Understanding in the Bedroom
For women in perimenopause and menopause, sexual activity tends to decrease for some time. Low estrogen levels may lead to vaginal discomfort, including vaginal dryness, which is caused due to the thinning and drying of the vaginal tissue. This can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable and often result in bleeding.
Not only this, but other things such as low libido during menopause means that some women may experience a lower sex drive than usual. This might lead to less frequent sexual activity, including foreplay, intercourse, masturbation, or oral sex.
Partners need to provide support, being open to discussing these types of symptoms, and what may be possible solutions that can help ignite the sexual passion between the two of you. Make sure that the other person is comfortable with using natural lubricants, creams, or lotions, and ensure that you constantly communicate during any sexual activity to avoid discomfort or pain.
Maintaining Romance and Emotional Connection
As mentioned, one of the best ways to maintain the romance between you and your partner is to ensure that both of you are clearly informed about the symptoms that are causing a declining frequency of sexual activity.
You might want to follow up with a healthcare provider or OB/GYN to learn more about different things you can incorporate to help make sexual intercourse more comfortable for both you and your partner.
Finally, you want to ensure that you both are open to discussing any viable treatment options. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of what these may be, and how they can help elevate the sexual experience. Make sure to only use methods that both you and your partner feel comfortable with.
Practical Support and Lifestyle Changes
Aside from being a supportive friend or partner, you can provide additional help through practical lifestyle changes.
Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations for Menopausal Health
Introducing certain foods, such as fresh legumes, fruits, and vegetables can help regulate and maintain a healthy diet, which in turn may have an impact on the overall severity of certain menopausal symptoms. These dietary changes could also include reducing the intake of certain foods, including red meat, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods.
Other positive lifestyle changes include having a balanced diet and participating in regular exercise, such as jogging, cycling, or even walking. Having an active lifestyle can be beneficial for women in menopause, and helps to play a role in effective stress management.
You might want to think of discussing other possible lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, reducing the intake of alcohol, and trying to reduce stress-inducing experiences.
Encouraging Positive Body Image and Self-Esteem
Physical changes can be a challenging time for many women. Many tend to find it harder to remain slimmer, or even maintain a normal body weight during menopause. Some women may experience weight gain, including around the abdomen, leading to tight-fitting clothes, and harder to keep off excess fat.
By being encouraging and helping to educate one another about the importance of positive body image can help improve a person’s self-esteem, and provide a person with a fresh perspective of understanding a changing figure.
These changes are normal, and not everyone will stay the same size and shape as they become older. Having someone to rely on, and ask for advice can be a way to support someone that may have a hard time dealing with their new size.
Empowering Through Education
As we’ve mentioned earlier, being educated about menopause is one of the best ways to help support others. Knowing what might be the cause for certain changes will help provide you better guidance on how to approach the things a person might experience, and what you can do to help.
Not only this but knowing that menopause can be different for every person can also help you better understand that while menopause is a universal experience, not many women may endure the same variety of common symptoms and changes. These may include things such as weight gain, night sweats, brain fog, sleep problems, irregular menstrual period and a changing sex life.
Additionally, menopause can take between seven and fourteen years, meaning that this is not a once-off process. There are different stages to menopause, and each stage may come with different symptoms and new realities.
Learning About Menopause Together
While educating yourself about menopause is important, doing so with others, either a friend or family member can help bring to light different things that you might’ve never heard or experienced before.
For many people, this could mean that learning about menopause with their partner will help them understand the changes they are experiencing, and how they can offer support to their partner during menopause.
In a friend group, learning about menopause early on will help them to be more supportive of one another, regardless of which stage they may be in their life. Additionally, this might be a way for them to build a supporting women network, and uncover all the facts about menopause and what they can do for each other to make menopause more comfortable.
Exploring Treatment Options and Natural Alternatives
Treating menopause is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Not all women may encounter menopausal changes in the same way, and everyone will have a unique experience. This creates a bit of a challenge in seeking necessary treatment options, however, fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options and natural alternatives that women can choose from.
Hormone Replacement Therapy:
HRT is one of the most popular treatments, and includes a suppository capsule that may need to be consumed daily to help replenish declining hormonal levels. There are, however, risks associated with HRT, including strokes, blood clots, and elevated risk of cancer.
Some dietary supplements have been found to help alleviate menopausal discomfort, although physical evidence regarding these treatments being a suitable alternative is relatively limited and requires further investigation.
Vitamin D & E
Both Vitamin D and E can play an important role in regulating the hormonal and chemical imbalance experienced during menopause. Vitamin E for example, may help to reduce oxidative stress, while Vit. D is crucial for bone structure and health.
Omega Fatty Acids
Other nutrients such as Omega 3, 6 and 7 fatty acids can help improve the natural lubrication of the body, including things such as the joints, muscles, and the vagina. In one instance, sea buckthorn/seaberry oil has been found to contain Omega 7 fatty acids, which can help to significantly improve vaginal dryness and alleviate discomfort.
Other forms of treatment may include effective stress management, including things such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), meditation, yoga, or having an active lifestyle. Getting enough exercise is crucial for women at the age of menopause, as this can help to regulate hormone levels and promote efficient blood flow and cardiovascular health.
How Do You Make a Menopausal Woman Happy?
Understand that menopause comes with a level of discomfort, but more importantly, establish an open line of communication to ensure that they have someone to talk to. Additionally, you can educate yourself to better understand what the symptoms might be that they are experiencing, and what possible changes and remedies they can introduce to alleviate some of the discomfort.
What Not to Say to Someone Going Through Menopause?
Things such as “menopause is a woman’s problem,” and “women have always had to deal with menopause.” “It’s only a temporary struggle,” “Luckily you don’t have to worry about your period anymore,” “No more pregnancy scares,” and “Your partner must have a hard time handling the change,” are only some of the things that you can avoid saying or asking someone going through menopause.
Being a supportive friend or partner can help a person going through menopause feel supported, and that they are being listened to. They may feel as if they are cared for, regardless of the challenges they may cause in the relationship, and that they have someone to rely on when they need help.
Menopause is a universally shared experience, and the more we begin to educate ourselves and others about it, the easier it will become to openly address any stereotypes and stigmas, and properly discuss ways of improving our approach to dealing with menopause, and what healthy changes we all can make to support those going through menopause.