Women going through menopause often feel as though they are alone in their plight against this common medical problem. As their spouses, you may be wondering if there is anything, you can do to help.
Here are 10 tips for spouses of women who are dealing with menopause:
- Let her have a say in the room temperature at home. Women during this period of their lives often have difficulty with warm or stuffy rooms. Rather than have her deal with her hot flashes in a warm location, let her set the temperature of the thermostat to where it is more comfortable for her.
- Remember that she might have problems with intercourse. You may need to be more patient with your spouse as she goes through menopause. She might be experiencing a decrease in libido so she won’t want to have sex as much and she may have vaginal dryness that can make intercourse painful. Buy a water-based lubricant for sex so that she can enjoy it, too.
- Support good nutritional habits. Women in menopause often need to improve their nutrition as some foods can help, while others can harm, the woman undergoing menopause. She will need to eat more sources of vitamin D and calcium to keep her bone strength up and should follow a moderately low calorie diet so as not to gain weight during menopause. You can help her by eating healthy right along with her so she isn’t tempted to fall off the wagon and eat the wrong things.
- Recognize that her bones might be fragile from osteoporosis. Women after menopause are particularly prone to osteoporotic falls and fractures. You can help reduce the incidence of this by decluttering the house, pulling up frayed carpeting, and removing throw rugs that your spouse might trip on, thus increasing the chances of an osteoporotic fall.
- Encourage her to exercise. Exercise is vital for the woman undergoing menopause. Much of the exercise should be aerobic exercises that help prevent heart disease. She may also wish to do some strength training to build up her bones and muscles. You can help her by partaking in these activities yourself so that you can both have good exercise habits and may both lose a little weight in the process. Exercise not only prevents obesity, but it decreases the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which are things you should be looking out for in your own body.
- Recognize that she will have mood swings. You need to know that women in menopause often have widely fluctuating moods that will make you wonder if she is mentally stable. If you want to help her, don’t make a big thing out of the mood swings and just be supportive to her in whatever mood she has. Mood swings can put a damper on a relationship but, if you remain calm and solid as a rock during her crises, you can help her try to remain as mentally stable as possible. Some women go through depression in menopause and you need to be sensitive to these symptoms. Be aware of any signs of suicidality in your spouse as this can be a complication of depression in menopause.
- Decrease the amount of stress in your lives. Stress can make menopausal symptoms worse, particularly those related to mood and depression. You can together find ways to reduce the stress in your lives so that you can enjoy these years without intolerable menopausal symptoms. Take a yoga class with her or practice meditation with her if this seems to help decrease your stress levels.
- Let her choose the bed clothing. If you want to help your spouse be happy at night, let her select the bedding you put on the bed. While you may be more comfortable with a down comforter, she may see that as exacerbating her hot flashes and night sweats. You can have an extra blanket on your side of the bed if you get cold but just know that she will likely not be hot and will want to sleep with just a sheet or a light blanket.
- Buy her a personal fan. They make personal fans that a woman with hot flashes can carry around to cool their face and neck while they are feeling the heat. If you could get her a portable fan, she can keep this in her purse for emergencies when she needs to cool down.
- Tell your wife she’s beautiful. Women in menopause often suffer from self-image problems as they begin to be more wrinkled and can gain some weight during this time. Remind her that she still looks good so that she won’t feel that she is getting older and is no longer desirable to you.