Learn more about the menopause journey and how to help your partner.
Menopause can be a confusing and lonely time, not just for women, but their partners as well. She’s going through tons of physical and emotional changes that can be challenging to navigate — and you’re likely feeling a bit unsure as to how to best support her.
The good news? It’s the perfect time to strengthen your relationship and bond. Here’s what you need to know about menopause and all the changes it brings. Consider this your crash course so that you can be a more supportive, understanding partner.
First of All: What is Menopause
There are three stages to menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause. Perimenopause can start in her late 30s or early to mid-40s and is the time when the body produces less estrogen over time. This is when menopause symptoms often start — things like hot flashes, irregular periods, night sweats, and more.
Eventually, after around seven years of perimenopause, a woman stops getting her periods altogether. The 12-month anniversary of her last period is called menopause (and it’s technically just one day in a woman’s life). From then on, she’s in post-menopause. Many symptoms might go away after menopause, but some (like vaginal dryness) can crop up or stick around long after that last period.
Menopause can be a very different experience for different women. The one predictable aspect of menopause is that it’s, well, unpredictable! While the average onset of menopause is 51, many women can start experiencing symptoms in their early 40’s. In fact, symptoms of menopause can start up to seven years before the final period and last five years (or more) after. Understanding the unpredictability of menopause will help you help support her journey. The more you know, the better suited you’ll be!
There Are 34 Signs of Menopause
As mentioned earlier, every woman experiences menopause differently. There are 34 different signs (or symptoms) of menopause that can impact everything from her mood, sleep, energy levels, libido, and more. While most women don’t experience every concern, that's a lot to figure out!
Communication is Key
As your partner is going through changes, so are you! Everyone experiences inevitable changes that come with getting older no matter their gender, like creaky knees, graying hair, or falling asleep watching TV. Sharing your own experience with aging — and listening to hers — can be key to strengthening your bond and intimacy. Be open about how you’re feeling while respecting her privacy. Keeping open, judgment-free channels of communication between you and your partner is a great way to prevent either of you from feeling distant or isolated from each other.
Roll With the Intimacy Changes
Vaginal dryness, low confidence, and a decreased sex drive can all accompany menopause. It’s normal — but that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating or uncomfortable for her. One of the more common signs of menopause is vaginal dryness that can occur due to decreasing estrogen levels. Having less natural lubrication can lead to painful and inflamed intimate tissues and pain during sex that didn’t used to be there!
Let her know that you’re here for her and happy to support her and talk about these changes. What used to feel good for her in the bedroom might not feel good anymore. Approach these changes together by trying new ways to boost libido when it feels right, or rethinking your bedside toolkit to support this process. And when you’re in bed together, go slow and respect the process. With patience, kindness, and potentially a lot of lube, you both can get back to a satisfying sex life.
She Might Be Feeling Isolated
Between possible changes in sex drive, sleeping patterns, mood swings, skin dryness, and weight gain, it can be hard to feel like yourself when menopause symptoms are taking over your body. Give her patience and space if she’s not feeling up for intimacy but let her know the door is open for when she’s ready. A lot of women don’t talk about their menopause experience because it’s considered taboo. Understand that she may be going through a lonely experience and sometimes just being there with a hug, some chocolate, or her favorite rom-com, even when things get tough, can make all the difference.
Good Sleep Is Hard to Come By
Eighty-five percent of women report hot flashes during menopause, a sudden feeling of heat that spreads through the face, neck, and chest. Night sweats are simply hot flashes that happen during the night time. Because of fluctuations in estrogen levels, the complicated mechanisms that control body temperature regulation are affected, resulting in feelings of sudden warmth and excessive sweating that can make sleep elusive. Do your part to help her be more comfortable at night, whether that’s getting a better fan for the bedroom, running a soothing bath for her before bed to unwind, and confiscating the iPad from bed (even if she still hasn’t figured out the day’s Wordle).
Menopause Can Affect Her Mood, Too
Menopause doesn’t just cause physical changes, either. Some women might experience depression, anxiety, or mood swings during perimenopause. Your partner might not even know that’s what’s going on, especially if she’s never dealt with mental health challenges before. If you’re noticing consistent changes in your partner’s behavior — like continued feelings of sadness or irritability, or loss of interest in her favorite things or activities — talk to her gently about it and encourage her to get the help she needs.
There’s Not a Lot of Information Readily Available
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma surrounding menopause. While you might be feeling in the dark about the changes your partner is experiencing, chances are, she probably is too! That’s why we created our hormone assessment, The Menopause Quiz, to help our community of women (and their partners!) learn more about the changes they’re experiencing, provide helpful resources, and give you tailored recommendations. Other great places for you both to do your homework include the North American Menopause Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the National Institute of Aging.
But There Are Treatments to Help
The symptoms of menopause can be frustrating, but thankfully there are lots of options to help your partner find relief. Doctors often prescribe hormone therapy, for example, to help with hot flashes or vaginal dryness. These treatments use estrogen (and in some cases, progesterone) to help increase her hormone levels, which can help reduce some of the peskiest symptoms of menopause.
Not all women want to or can take hormone treatments, but luckily there are also lots of great, non-hormonal options to help address menopause symptoms. That’s where Kindra comes in. Our Sleep Enhancing Supplement, for example, uses Pycnogenol to promote circulation (reducing night sweats) along with relaxing Ashwagandha and a low dose of melatonin to help her sleep soundly. And our Daily Vaginal Lotion has been shown to reduce pain during sex for 91 percent of women — all without hormones.
She’s Still Your Partner
At the end of the day, even with all that she’s going through, she’s still your same beloved partner. Patience, open communication, and a loving attitude can go a long way to keeping your relationship stronger than ever. You’ve got this.