Find out about the menopause
To support someone going through menopause, it helps to understand what it is, and how it impacts people in different ways. For example, the menopause doesn’t just cause physical symptoms. It can affect the way you feel too.
We offer lots of information about the menopause, or you can also check out the NHS or Women’s Health Concern.
Listen to their menopause experience
Try and be a sympathetic listener as this can be a real source of comfort and support, and it can be tough to deal with something that’s very personal. So if you (or someone you know) had a different menopause experience, it may not be helpful to say so.
Many people struggle with menopause symptoms at work. Others may grieve the end of their ability to have children. It might also be hard for some people to accept a new phase of life that makes them feel older.
And it’s important to be mindful that the menopause can be a positive time for some of those affected, bringing a new sense of liberation and certainty.
The person you care for may be having a hard time dealing with the physical and psychological symptoms of menopause. They may feel emotional, exhausted, anxious, and less confident. So when they look great, tell them – but if they’re looking tired, they don’t need to know.
They may like to be reminded of how much you appreciate them and enjoy their company. Most people feel a little better when they get an unexpected treat or surprise, or when their achievements are recognised by others.
Don’t take their menopause personally
If someone going through menopause has mood swings, they might seem annoyed or impatient with you. It isn’t deliberate, so try to be understanding. Having problems concentrating or memory lapses (known as ‘brain fog’) can be frustrating, but they’re common symptoms of the menopause.
If you know that something’s out of the ordinary, try to see it as what that person is experiencing rather than who they are. Instead of thinking ‘they’re being irritable with me’, it’s better to consider that they wouldn’t normally behave like this.
Even so, reflect on whether you could have done something to upset them. It might be unfair to blame everything on the menopause.
Support and lifestyle changes that can help menopause symptoms
Try and find ways to make the person you care for feel better, both physically and emotionally. If someone is stressed, your kindness and support might be appreciated. It could also help you think of more creative ways to support them, or find helpful tips online.
Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) is a common menopause symptom, so do what you can to help them get enough sleep. If they wake up from night sweats, get them cold water to drink or a cool damp towel, or change the sheets.
Regular exercise, like walking or bike riding, can really help to keep your brain and body healthy, and boost your mood. You could do this together.
Gaining weight can be common around the time of the menopause. If someone you know has put on weight and wants to lose weight safely, you could join them in adopting a healthy, balanced diet or eating plan.
How to support your partner during menopause
Dealing with the menopause as a partner involves empathy, open communication, and support. Here are a few things to consider that might be helpful.
- Stress that you’re in this together and ask how you can help.
- Reinforce the reasons why you’re together, and remind them of other challenges you’ve dealt with as a team.
- Research has shown that the menopause often affects women’s sexual relationships. It’s important to find ways to work through this together.
- Think about getting professional help if you and your partner are having serious conflict during this time. You might find it helpful to speak to a relationship counsellor.
Often, just being there for someone is the best way to offer your support and show that you care.