How is it that a natural state in a woman’s life may affect the relationship?
If you are a woman between the ages of 40 to 55 years or if you are in a relationship with a woman in that age group this blog is for you.
What is the difference between perimenopause and menopause? Perimenopause is considered the time leading to menopause. This is usually 12 months or more. This time is generally initiated at the last period or menstrual cycle of a woman. Once a woman has gone 12 months without a period she is considered to be in menopause or postmenopause. Now if that sounds a bit confusing don’t worry we’re in the same boat. With everything I read perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause gets a bit blurred. Maybe it is clearer to you. Read more here menopause fact sheet.
This marks a significant change in a woman’s life. Basically the egg production from her ovaries are shutting down. For some women this may be a time to celebrate not having any more periods for others it maybe a distressing time at the realisation they cannot produce any or anymore children. The body is going through some changes. These include hormone changes, hot flushes, night sweats, and genital changes.
The degree to which each woman’s body responds to these normal hormonal changes varies.
- 25% of women experience no noticeable changes except the cessation of menstruation
- 50% of women experience some menopausal symptoms, varying from mild to moderate
- 25% of women have more severe symptoms
Women’s Health Queensland
The statistics tell us not all women experience the same when their periods cease. If you are curious then probably like me and didn’t hear much from my mother. My mother was born in the 30’s and that generation tend not to talk about personal things too well. So if you didn’t hear it from your mother well you might hear from your friends. Well, if you are like me you probably didn’t hear much either. It seems to be a strange topic, that women go through but not much conversation goes on about it. Luckily, we now have social media and it seems women are quite happy to share their experiences on there. Like one women on an instagram post (from menopause_doctor) says –
“I feel exactly like this, having to push myself everyday to go to work on very little sleep. Trying to stay focused and draw some positives but they’re just not there” LL
Oh did I mention lack of sleep! Another woman describes her experience –
“I feel dead inside. I am just existing rather than living and my life has become unbearable”
Did I mention loss of labido or vaginal dryness? How’s that looking for your relationship – a sleep deprived, hormonal woman with little sex drive?
It is no secret that relationship crises are a common side effect of menopause says Dr. Christiane Northrup
Menopause can be a bit of a mystery for women, so how are the partners going to understand this time of life? Dr. Christiane Northrup describes that while a woman is going through these physical changes her emotional state may alter too and shares that some women experience feeling as if they have lost their mind. Brain fog is also another common term used by women during this period. It is no wonder then the relationship can be impacted. Here is what one man told of his relationship to Dr. Christiane Northrup –
I lost the woman I love because of menopause. It’s not only the physical changes but the psychological effects. Menopause is the ugly sister of all the hormonal changes women go through in their lives, and is responsible for destroying 60% of relationships and marriages. Only when it was over did she realize that her feelings were being controlled by hormone imbalance and we both ended up with different people for all the wrong reasons!!
It is a critical time in a woman’s life and it seems it can be very influential to their relationship. Dr. Christiane Northrup also allues that menopause may not necessarily be the cause of a relationship crisis it may be the instigator of underlying unresolved issues.
Menopause Knowledge is gold!
Partners what can you do? For starters gain some knowledge about perimenopause and menopause. Having some understanding for what your partner is going through is gold for your relationship. And perhaps not wait to be told – show some love and find out yourself because you want to be a loving and supportive partner. Know if you are with a woman who is aged between 40-55 that this involves you. Be aware of the physical and psychological effects that could happen.
When both persons in a relationship is equipped with knowledge then you can have some mutual understanding. Yes, talking helps. It might not relieve the symptoms but it feels damn good that your partner cares enough to listen to your woes. For some women it may also be a very sad time as this signifies a huge loss of opportunity to have any or any more children. Your partner may experience grief during this time.
I wish I could draw cartoons. I would draw one of a loving partner shivering with the aircon blasting and their partner still sweating! Yes, this is a very personal picture I have described. My husband noticed that each summer I was having a hard time coping with the heat. It seemed like the fan couldn’t go fast enough and the wet face clothes were just not cutting it for me. Love is an air conditioner! Late last year my husband said we need to get an air conditioner for our room. It was music to my ears! Yes, I can confirm it has certainly helped me get through the Queensland summer here in Australia. He loves me so much he is prepared to wear extra clothing so that I can get some decent sleep in a cooler temperature.
And I saved the best until last – sex! This is pretty simple. In dryness add some moisture! A little bit of care and gentleness goes a long way along with a bit of lube. There is no shame in lubricants for intimate times. Not all lubes are the same. Be prepared to shop around and experiment. So guys know this – if it’s dry down there (cliterous) and in there (virgina) it is most likely going to be painful sex. And that is exactly why some women get put off by sex during this time – it becomes painful. Take your time, talk about it and explore the assortment of lubes out there – This is where you can have fun!
For the women who find it unbearable you may need to see your doctor. There are many treatments available now. This is sometimes another trial and error before finding out what works for you. And if you want to stay natural there are lots of good things you can do. Like developing good sleep hygiene, regular exercise, healthy diet, and some report that vitamin E and primrose oil may offer some relief. Do your research find out the effects and side effects and most importantly if you are on other medications seek advice from you doctor.
As for me I’m jumping for joy that I can wear white whenever I want! (Even if I’m feeling meh!).