perimenopause menopause libido intimacy hormones

Your Menopause Journey – A blog for the Partner In Your Life

PERIMENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE  – A Blog for the partner in your life

Many men do not realise the extent of how the symptoms of the perimenopause or menopause affect their partners.  Indeed some may feel that their partner has changed beyond all recognition and appear to be hijacked by hormonal fluctuations.

What do you do when your partner is happy one minute and in a pool of tears the next?  Maybe you find yourself wondering “where is the woman that I married”?  If any of the above resonates with you, then this blog is written especially for you.

Perhaps the tips in this blog can serve as a self-help guide to help you navigate what can be the turbulent ocean of the perimenopause/menopause.

What Can Men Expect?

So what can you expect from your partner at this time in her life (and yours)?  What can you do help her feel better?  Read on to get some helpful information to help both of you  come out the other side stronger than you were before.

The following are the most common symptoms of perimenopause (the phase before menopause) and the menopause.

Your partner may have one or two of these symptoms, or she may have all.  A great deal of how she experiences the perimenopause and menopause will depend on the diet and lifestyle she chooses to follow.

 Diet and Lifestyle

Healthy food 2

 

A diet full of processed foods, takeaways, cakes and biscuits is not going to do her any favours.  Unfortunately the body may become more efficient in gaining weight in the menopause years.

Maybe it is time to think carefully about what is going into the shopping trolley.   Junk food is likely to land directly on her body very quickly when excess calories are consumed.

Perimenopause and Menopause Symptoms

* Night sweats * Tearfulness * Weight gain

* Hot flushes * Anxiety * Loss of confidence

* Irritability * Loss of libido

* Mood swings * Loss of energy

Perhaps you have recognised some of the above in your partner?  So what can you do?

Five Ways to Help Your Partner

lovers for blog

1. Communicate

It is important to keep communication wide open at this time.  You are her life companion, and hopefully a partner she feels safe and loved enough to share her concerns with.

When she does her best to try to tell you how she feels, please don’t interrupt her, don’t offer your expert opinion on this subject as you do not truly know what she is going through.

Learn to be a “heart with ears” meaning; giving her the opportunity to tell you in her own way what she is feeling.  Please don’t look away from her when she is speaking either, respect her enough to give her the attention she needs. Learn to really listen and truly “hear what she is saying”.

2. Reassure

Your partner may be feeling many different types of emotions.   She may be feeling sad that her ability to conceive is coming to an end.  She may feel insecure if weight is redistributing itself, or not be at peace with the ageing process and the march of time on the face and body.

Gentlemen, it is not the time to start an affair because you are unable to relate fully to your partner at this time.  You may also want to think twice about criticising or belittling her.  This is a part of a woman’s journey, and with small changes and an adjustment of  mindset and lifestyle, this phase can also be viewed as a new beginning.

3. Maintain a Sense of Humour

It is a true saying that laughter is good medicine.  Remember that you have not “lost” your wife forever.  She is still there, and she will be back at the end of the menopause journey.

Do things together that your both really enjoy.  Go to the cinema and watch uplifting funny movies.  Be with people that are positive and happy.  Plan your future to include doing all the things you love.  Be happy.  Every day is blessing and life is precious.  Spend your time well as tomorrow is a promise not guaranteed for everyone.

4. Maintain intimacy and affection

There may be days when your partner looks in the mirror and does not like herself much at all. If she is feeling less than “sexy” she won’t be expecting you to find her sexy either.  She may even rebuke your sexual advances.

Please don’t think she is being cold or rejecting you.  Those hormones can do quite a dampening job on the libido.  Add in to the mix that she may not be sleeping well due to night sweats, and insomnia.

You may be blissfully unaware that all of this is happening while you snore happily beside her.  Give her what she needs.  If affection is needed be it in the way of a hug, or putting your arms  around her, then do it.

Maybe she isn’t in the mood for sex, but may be in the mood to lie together and be close.  Once again she is not rejecting you.  Be patient, kind and considerate.  Great things can happen when there are no expectations.

5. Give the space she needs

As your partner navigates this phase of her life she may also be handling a number of other issues. The responsibilities of work, family commitments may be weighing heavy on her mind and on her time.

If she asks for some “me” time, it is not because she does not want to be with you, it is because she wants to be with herself for a little while.  Why not surprise her once in a while with a Spa voucher, or run her a nice bubble bath, buy her favourite magazine, and close the door and leave her be for while.

I hope the above has helped you in some way.  If you have enjoyed this blog why not head over to the Sexuality and Relationships blog for more tips and information.

Have a love filled day!

Isobel McArthur – Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

healthy eating

Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy Food – Let Food be your Friend

It has been interesting to observe how my body changed when I “flourished” into my 40s.  All of a sudden what I could get away with eating in my 20s and 30s no longer applied and I realised the importance of eating healthy food.

My body began to redistribute weight differently and a muffin top started to present itself over my jeans.  As I sat in the bath contemplating this new part of myself,  I knew that I needed to address and embrace new eating habits that were better suited to a midlife woman, and fluctuating hormones.  A cavalier attitude with my diet was not cutting it at all. Perimenopause had arrived and menopause was knocking at the door.

There is much evidence to support the true fact that the amount of energy that we burn while resting, drops off by the age of 30 and then a further 7% each decade after that.

Common sense points to the fact that of course if we eat exactly the same in our 40s and beyond as we did in our 20s and 30s weight would start to creep on. Not eating healthy food was no longer an option.  Have you noticed your waist bands getting tighter? your bra bulges increasing?  It doesn’t happen overnight though it may seem that way when you finally notice these things.

Bottom line – you need fewer calories than you did when you were younger

With midlife comes other concerns and issues such as risk of heart disease, diabetes, that with increased cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyles, poor eating choices is a recipe for disaster.

cholesterol

There is no need to feel deprived when you choose to eat healthy food there are many tasty substitutes out there for you.  Don’t focus on the things you can’t eat, but on all of the things you can.

Eating healthier is easier than you think.  How about adding some spinach to to your eggs, or enjoy raw carrots, cauliflower and celery with some hummus as a snack.  Fill your plate with lots of roasted delicious veggies. Raw unsalted almonds and walnuts make a great snack too.

What is a Healthy Diet?

In the younger years you may have followed various different diets or ways of eating in a desire to “look good”, however this attitude shifts in the 40s and beyond towards a necessity to be healthy and look good.

But what is a healthy diet?  What are you supposed to eat or indeed not eat in your midlife and beyond years?  There is so much conflicting information out there now that no wonder you don’t know what to believe any longer.

One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is to give up or at least restrict sugar in your diet. Did you know that sugar is eight times addictive as cocaine?

Giving up Sugar

When you go shopping, check the food labels and avoid any that have sugar in the first three ingredients.  Giving up sugar may be difficult at first and you may experience cravings, however these generally disappear after a few weeks have passed.  During this time please do not try to substitute your sugar intake by using artificial sweeteners, you may wish to try Xylitol or Stevia (made of plants).

Supplementation is important at this time in your life and there are many excellent supplements out there that may help you. Chat with your local health store and ask them to recommend the best supplements for you. Sugar also causes your blood glucose levels to rise sharply and then to crash which will leave you feeling drained and tired.  Sugar certainly has negative effects on your overall wellbeing and impacts your life significantly.

Moving into Menopause

You may find that as you move into the menopause that hot flushes are making themselves known, generally at the most inconvenient times and it is no fun having a hot flush mid conversation at work or otherwise.  There are certain food groups that trigger or worsen hot flushes and now is the time to remove these from your diet as they are over stimulating:

Coffee

Spicy foods

Alcohol

alcohol

Don’t forget your bones! Eating good sources of protein that contains tryptophan is important.  Include cottage cheese, turkey, legumes and oats. Tryptophan helps to make serotonin which is very helpful in controlling moods, appetite and sleep.

Healthy Food Groups

There are some food groups that are excellent for you at this time in your life, one of them being oats.  Oats is good news for cholesterol and the heart as it contains beta-glucans that helps reduce the unwanted form of cholesterol.  Having oats in the diet also protects against the build of plaque on artery walls.  Are you ready to start eating your porridge now?

EVIDENCE

It has been concluded by researchers that eating just 3g of oats every day helps to reduce cholesterol by 5 to 10% and the risk of heart disease lowers.  Great news for midlife.

OILY FISH

healthy food fish oils

Full of Omega 3 fats and great in helping to lower blood pressure, heart rate and reducing the risk of irregular heartbeats.  Choose wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna and herring.  Be careful in your method of cooking as omega 3 fats are sensitive to high temperatures, so steam lightly or cook on a low temperature.

We have just scratched the surface of eating healthy food in your 40s and beyond.  If you want to learn more then why not visit the Flourish Beyond 40 Guidance and Support page and shop where you are able to browse various ways of helping yourself back to health, and the options of joining the Flourish Beyond 40 Programme and Facebook community.

You may also like to read about weight and exercise in midlife and beyond and managing stress.