Menopause is often a time of much physiological and mental stress for many women, but how does menopause affect husbands and partners who spend their lives with women struggling with all of the symptoms involved with menopause?
Here are just a few of the physical and emotional symptoms that can affect our relationships:
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Mood Swings: Hormonal changes during menopause may cause a woman's mood to fluctuate from being depressed, irritable and sad to extremely happy and calm. This can confuse partners who aren't quite sure how to adapt to such changing emotions. The key thing here is to learn to communicate openly regarding your feelings.
Quite often, as menopause symptoms begin to appear, women are also dealing with other significant life changes. Children moving out of the home, upcoming retirement, and a change in life focus may cause increased stress in a woman's life. These huge life changes, coupled with volatile mood swings, may create an incredible amount of stress on an otherwise happy marriage.
Physical Changes: A woman's body goes through a number of huge physical changes besides stopping their periods and the beginning of hot flashes and night sweats. As hormone levels fluctuate, women have an increased tendency to gain weight. Thinning hair is another symptom some women experience during menopause. Often, the physical changes to a woman's body greatly affect her feelings about herself and cause sadness or depression which can add much stress to a marriage.
Getting more exercise and eating a healthy diet can help you lose extra weight and improve one's mood. Exercise is also a great way to relieve the stress and anxiety which often bother women going through the menopausal transition.
Decreased Sex Drive: It is common for menopausal women to experience a decrease in libido, which puts added stress on their relationship with their partner. Many also suffer from vaginal dryness, which may lead to uncomfortable sex, pain, thus resulting in less sex. The lack of intimacy and avoidance of sex can leave partners feeling unloved and unwanted.
For some women, the loss of menstruation indicates a lack of fertility, often making her feel less feminine. For others, a lack of communication in other areas of life causes arguments and hurt feelings, resulting in less interest in physical intimacy. It is extremely important to your partner about your feelings regarding sex and set aside time for each other. There are many treatments for vaginal dryness and low libido, so it is very important to discuss options with your physician.
Bottomline....always try to communicate openly with your partner or spouse. Talk about your symptoms and emotional struggles, so they understand and can be a part of the solution.
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