What do men think of perimenopause and menopause?
Does your husband understand menopause? I mean, really understand menopause? Chances are that he just thinks it's that time of YOUR life when you get to say goodbye periods and PMS. Hello, sex all month long!
My husband, David, and most of the men who responded to my recent questionnaire were completely in the dark about what to expect when the loves of their lives hit perimenopause and menopause. Boy, talk about being "blindsided"!
When our relationship was hit with a torrent of hot flashes, tremendous mood swings and sleepless and sexless nights, he was more than flummoxed.
Why was I so moody? Why did everything he do upset me so? Why didn't I want to be intimate with him anymore? These changes can be so confusing to the men in our lives. My husband wasn't sure if my feelings for him had changed or if he had done something to incite my bitchy demeanor. Either way, he feared it would never go away. He wanted our relationship back, but had no idea as to what the cause or cure was.
For him and for most of the men I interviewed, dealing with and trying to understand perimenopause and menopause is more challenging than PMS. "It doesn't come and go every 28 days or so... once you're in, there's no turning back, so you can't rationalize away the symptoms," David says. "You can't just dismiss the symptoms of menopause as 'it's just that time of month' and wait for day eight to roll around."
Finally, though, my husband and I sought out a perimenopause and menopause specialist, and together we both found hormone happiness. We learned that the symptoms our relationship was suffering from were actually symptoms of perimenopause. And with proper medical care, the symptoms faded away. But most importantly, we grew to better understand this chapter of my life -- and our relationship. Together and as co-participants, we educated ourselves on the myriad of more than 30 menopausal symptoms, demystifying this time in our lives. Information is power!
Women aren't the only ones who need to understand menopause. As a woman, you are one-half of your marriage (let's be honest: sometimes even more than that!), and when that half changes, it changes the relationship right along with it. For my husband and me, going together to see a menopause specialist was a game-changer in how we approached this time in our lives together. Now, our relationship is even stronger than it was before.
Open up the conversation with the love of your life with these top three things every woman should tell her partner about menopause:
1. This Is Hard For Me
As women, we try to take everything that life throws at us in giant, superhuman strides. But menopause isn't a road best traveled solo. So don't try to do it that way! Be honest about how you feel both physically and emotionally. Even once you conquer hot flashes, mood swings and the various other symptoms of menopause, coping with the loss of fertility can be difficult for many women. You deserve every feeling. Don't discount them.
2. It's Not You, It's My Hormones
Let's face it, when riding the hormonal highs and lows of menopause, we can say and do some pretty hurtful things. Sometimes they shock even us. So imagine how the men in our life feel when they become the target of our fury! Before my husband and I realized menopause's full effects, he felt like he had done something wrong. That couldn't have been further from the truth!
3. I'm Still Attracted To You
It is important that your lover understands that when your estrogen levels begin to plummet, your vagina might go from frolicking on a tropical island to being spiteful and stranded in the Mojave Desert. When this happens, sex can hurt! This can be quite disturbing to a couple that is normally very sexually active and satisfied. But do not fret, lovers, there is help for this! With a little lube and/or hormone replacement therapy, you can be back frolicking on the beach in no time.
It's no secret that communication is the key to happy, healthy relationships. But when it comes to dealing with perimenopause and menopause, communication might as well be smack dab in the middle of your vows. So start talking! Trust me -- you'll both be so glad you did!
Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!
Time to Party! Join Ellen the first Monday of every month at 8 p.m. EST/ 5 p.m PST for her Menopause Mondays Google Hangouts: Where the Sisterhood helps the Sisterhood. You can ask Ellen your menopause questions at this free online event! Details Here.
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Ellen Dolgen is an outspoken women's health and wellness advocate, menopause awareness expert, author, and speaker.
After struggling through the silence that surrounds menopause, Ellen resolved to help women reach out and end the confusion, embarrassment and less-than-lovely symptoms that come with "the change." Her passion to be a "sister" to all women fueled Ellen's book, Shmirshky: The Pursuit of Hormone Happiness. As a result of her women's wellness journey, and in response to the overwhelming thirst of her ever-expanding audience for empowering information, Ellen's weekly blog, Menopause Mondays™ was born.
Menopause Mondays™ allows Ellen an expansive platform from which she broadens her discussion of menopause, women's health and life as a menopausal (and fabulous!) woman. Her weekly Menopause News Flash provides a one-stop shop for the latest menopause and women's health news and research, allowing women the access and know-how needed to take charge of their health and happiness. In addition to Ellen's ever-growing social media presence, EllenDolgen.com has fast become "the place" on the web for informative and entertaining women's menopause and wellness engagement. In 2012 EllenDolgen.com was named first on the list of the "Best Menopause Blogs" by Healthline. Ellen is also a regular contributor to over a dozen leading women's health blogs.
Her motto is: Reaching out is IN! Suffering in silence is OUT!