Menopause definitely affects you, but it also affects your husband. Because of this, it’s really important that you know how to talk to your husband about menopause.
Menopause happens to every woman. The process of going through the change from perimenopause to postmenopause can last up to 15 years.
First of all, understanding what menopause gives you will help when explaining it to him. Menopause is your very last period. You’re considered menopausal when you haven’t had a period for at least 13 months, and your follicle-stimulating hormone is over 30. Yet, the 5-15 years before that last period, called perimenopause, begins the decline of your hormones. You may start to have symptoms like insomnia, hot flashes, and night sweats. You may notice a decline in your sex drive at that point, and perhaps a little bit of vaginal dryness. Or, you may gain weight, or be fatigued and irritable. Your periods may be getting irregular and unpredictable.
All these symptoms affect you, but they’re also affecting him.
Understanding this process and knowing where you are in the change of life is really important. Talk to him about the fact that your hormones affect your brain and your moods, your cognition, and your memory. This isn’t just you being irritable. This is your hormones affecting your brain chemistry, which can cause irritability.
Sometimes, it’s hard for you to see what’s happening. So you might want to tell your husband if he notices that you’re acting a little bit different, perhaps he can draw it to your attention, nicely, gently, patiently, so you can know that you need to get some help. That’s what I had to do. I have been known as the Hormone Queen treating menopausal women for decades, yet when I was going through the change, I didn’t realize how much my roller coaster hormones were affecting my relationship. I really wasn’t having a lot of physical symptoms, but apparently, I was a little moody and irritable, and my husband actually sat me down, took me by the hands, and said, “Honey, if you were your own patient, wouldn’t you give yourself some hormonal support?”
That’s when I took my perimenopause seriously. It was affecting my relationship. If you are feeling irritable, moody, less motivated, depressed, or anxious, tell him that it could be your hormones. Also, tell him that you’re going to get it checked out. But you’ll need his help, and for him to be patient and understanding with you. It’s not easy, but partnering with your husband during this process can help the process a lot.
First, you want to explain what menopause is to your husband.
Perimenopause is when your hormones are starting to bottom out, especially progesterone, which causes irregular periods. Then, in menopause, your estrogen declines, causing symptoms of insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, moodiness, vaginal dryness, and loss of libido. And finally in postmenopause, your testosterone will bottom out, and you may lose muscle strength and body tone.
Knowing what your options are to treat your menopausal symptoms will help relieve you both. Especially if you have a plan. I go over all the options possible to treat all the phases of the change in our Menopause Action Plan workshop. You’ll know everything you need to know about hormone replacement therapy. As well as estrogenic, progestational and androgenic herbs. Any supplements that could help during the change, as well as alternative therapies like mind-body interventions. They have proven through research to help.
One of the things that you want to talk to your husband about as you’re going through menopause is that you may have to change some things, like your diet, your activity, or add meditation and stress reduction techniques in order to really thrive during this time. There may be some changes in your lifestyle, and it would be really helpful if he was on board with these changes, so for instance, you’re not having to cook something different for him, and a healthier meal for you.
If you’re close in age, your husband is probably going through midlife as well, and his hormones are starting to plummet. It would be good for him to adopt some lifestyle changes that actually promote optimal health. Aging gracefully together is the goal.
The other thing that would be really helpful for you to explain to your husband is that at this time, women benefit by having circles of women around them.
Other women going through the change have empathy for what’s happening. It’s good to have a place where you can ask questions and get the emotional and practical support you need.
A lot of things are happening during menopause. Not only are your hormones bottoming out, but you may have children that still depend on you, parents that depend on you, or perhaps grandkids being born. You may be going through a career change at this time. Maybe you or your husband are retiring. That’s a lot of transitions to adjust to, and when your hormones are bottoming out at the same time, it can be tough.
Gathering in circles of compassionate women can be the best way to thrive. That’s why I created an exclusive group called the Hormone Healing Circle, which provides a deep level of support. Along with the other women, I’m very active in the group to support and guide you.
Men like practical things they can do to be helpful. There are many things they can do to help.
Number One on the list is to stock up on lubrication. Yep, you’re probably going to need it, and if you understand that you’re going to need it sooner than later, you’ll have a lot fewer issues with painful intercourse because your vagina is dry. My favorite is coconut oil. It maintains a nice pH balance in the vagina, tastes great, and is absolutely natural.
Number Two on the list is to start dating again. Agree to make time for each other, and actually plan real dates. This is a great time to get to know each other again because you’re not the same people you were when you first got together. Your hormones and his hormones are changing, which affects the way you both think and feel. I like to have fun dates with my husband by ourselves or with other couples. We also make sure we’re making time to have really deep conversations so we can check in with one another. In midlife, so much is happening, and it’s always good to check-in.
Number Three is helping him understand that it takes time to get back into balance and heal. You may choose to use hormone replacement therapy or nutraceuticals or both to help you to stay balanced. Just help him understand that it’s not going to work right away. This is because your hypothalamus becomes so dysregulated during the change that it takes a good 90 days to get back into balance. Sometimes longer if you have other types of chronic illnesses while going through menopause.
If you want to join us in our Menopause Action Plan workshop, that’s great!
If you’re just not sure yet, we have a Menopause Action Plan Guide so you can start understanding a little bit more about what that’s about. I hope you’ll join our group when you’re ready.