While menopause is a natural thing that happens in life, it is important to understand that it can get messy but you can survive it. It isn’t something that most women can simply breeze through without some degree of difficulty. Women and men need to understand the various things that happen over a period of time when a woman’s body is changing dramatically.
How do you successfully navigate through this time in life? Work together as a team to help one another through the difficulties. Talk about what all of the changes mean to each of you? You both may need to read about menopause and talk about it openly with each other. Try to be empathetic toward each other during a time when things may seem very out of whack!
How do you even know you may be in the process of menopause?
- Sleep issues and lower energy. Maybe you are beginning to have difficulty sleeping which is a problem you never had before.
- Feelings of anxiety, sadness and loss. You begin to feel anxious often or sadness more often, or a deep sense of loss. You need to understand that you are not going crazy! This is a part of going through this “change.” Hormones or the lack thereof do weird things to women!
- Other signs and symptoms can appear months or even years before menopause actually happens:
- You have your own “personal summers” (hot flashes to be exact!).
- Your moods are all over the place!
- You find yourself getting rounder and your clothes are tighter, but you don’t think you’re eating any more or differently than you did.
- You start to notice some not so pleasant bald spots on top of your head where there used to be hair!
- You find that you are “sagging” in places where you were firm before!
- You look at your skin and gasp at the dark spots that have appeared out of nowhere!
- You can’t remember where you left your keys or why you came upstairs and begin to think, “Oh my gosh, I have Alzheimer’s!”
“Why is it happening now?” Things in your marriage had been going ok, and now it seems that overnight, it has all changed! How can you manage these changes?
There are some things women can do to help reduce the impact of these menopausal symptoms.
To help reduce the number of hot flashes or at least how long they last:
- Try dressing in layers and shed some of those layers when you start to feel overly warm.
- Maybe have a cold glass of water, or get to somewhere that’s cooler when having a hot flash. This can help you cool down more quickly.
- Try not to drink hot beverages or drink alcohol. Stay away from eating spicy foods. All of these things can set off a hot flash in a matter of seconds!
- Speaking of hot flashes, I think that men often don’t quite get how women feel when a hot flash is coming on or when they are in the midst of one. One time I was describing to my husband how one of my clients was having a hot flash and was trying to cool down. She and her husband were at church and her husband said to her that she was just being too dramatic! That may be how it seems to your husband, but the reality is that it is dramatic. I described it to my husband as feeling like you are wrapped in plastic wrap and you are suffocating. All you want to do is get out of the clothes that are confining you and/or the space where you are!!
- Get enough sleep (I know that it is so difficult to sleep sometimes during menopause. All I wanted to do was get a good night’s sleep but sleep evaded me for months).
- One helpful hint is to avoid caffeine late in the day or in the evening and also avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- It is best to exercise during the day and not right before bedtime.
- Sometimes you may need a sleep aid of some sort either over the counter or prescribed by your doctor to help you sleep. It hopefully is not a forever thing, but it sure can be problematic when it’s happening to you.
- Try using relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, massage, and/or progressive muscle relaxation can help relieve menopausal symptoms. You can find a number of books and CDs on different relaxation exercises. Not all relaxation methods work for everyone so it is important to try some different ones to find one or more that work for you. Don’t give up when something doesn’t work. Keep searching. It may take awhile, but you will find a technique that works for you.
- Eat a more balanced diet. Eating more healthy foods can help manage your symptoms better. You may need to take some extra vitamins and supplements along with your diet to help you with these symptoms. Rather than trying to figure out which ones you may need, you need to bite the bullet and go see your doctor or naturopathic doctor. She can help you decide which supplements you may need.
- Make exercise a part of your regular routine. Get moving and keep moving. This is something that married couples can do together. It not only will help your menopausal symptoms, but will bring you closer together with your marriage partner.
It is always important for couples to be aware of any of the signs and symptoms of menopause and not be afraid to talk about them and also seek professional help from a physician and possibly a therapist who can help them navigate through all of the changes.
If symptoms bother you, don’t hesitate to get help for them. There are many treatments available to you including simply adjusting your lifestyle. Know that it does get better - symptoms subside and episodes may not occur as frequently or be as severe.
In life “pain is inevitable; misery is an option!” Choose to maintain your sense of humor throughout changes you face in your life and seek help when it feels like these changes are becoming too overwhelming for you and your spouse!!
Life happens and these changes are inevitable, but it is what you choose to do that makes the difference. You can embrace the changes and have a great time together or you can sink into a miserable place. The choice is yours.
Let me tell you that life doesn’t end and marriages don’t end just because you are changing physically and emotionally. You can actually be better than you have ever been, but the choice is definitely yours to make. Choose to “live simply, laugh often, and love deeply” as you make your way through this time in your life.
If you're ready, take the next step now and call 331-308-0113 for a free 15-20 minute phone/Skype consultation. Together we can figure out how to help your marriage as you go through menopause so it's less of a burden on your life and more of a transitional time that's normal and natural for your both. On our call, we can discuss what it's like to work with me or us as a couple. You will come away from that call with the information you need to make a decision about the best next steps to get you the help and support you need.