Could the menopause spell the end of your relationship?

Could menopause spell the end of your relationship - article on Silver Magazine

With a survey showing that 7 in 10 women blame menopause for their relationship breakdown, it’s good to be prepared for the changes coming…

Thanks to a more open dialogue around the menopause, there is now far greater awareness about the symptoms of menopause in women. But it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it affects more than just the physical. It seems that menopause might spell the end of your relationship.

*Sensitive topics

It’s estimated that a third of the entire UK female population are currently menopausal, which equates to around 13 million people. Right here, right now.

For the majority of women, menopause typically starts between the ages of 45 and 55. However, early menopause can affect women if their periods have stopped before they turn 45. Or if they’ve had menopause enforced for another reason, such as cancer treatment affecting the ovaries, as a result of chromosomal abnormalities, infections, or even an autoimmune disease.

Whatever your age, or reason for being in menopause, it can bring a ton of aggravation. And not just for the one going through it.

The impact on relationships

The changes and imbalances in your hormones when going through the menopause can have a significant impact on your mental health, causing you to have brain fog, feel anxious, overwhelmed, and have low self-esteem.

Various studies have shown menopause can greatly impact relationships, with one study showing that 7 in 10 women blame menopause for their divorce. In addition to increased divorces, there is also sadly a link between menopause and domestic abuse (DA), with more women reporting an increase in this during the menopausal period.

67 per cent of the 1,000 women who participated expressed concern that it led to a rise in domestic abuse and arguments.

This can be particularly challenging when dealing with the physical and mental impacts of the menopause, so it’s important to seek advice if possible during this difficult time.

Thankfully society has now placed greater focus on mental health and raising awareness of domestic abuse, meaning accessibility to support is better than ever before. As well as dedicated DA support, there are also now menopause specialists and charities available to offer guidance.

Sadly, only 20 per cent of these women had sought support to discuss perimenopause/menopause because they did not realize it was a contributing factor to their relationship breakdown at the time.

Taking care of yourself throughout the menopause journey

If you’re a Silver reader you’re probably perimenopausal, menopausal, or can see it on the horizon. So you’re probably all over this already. But it’s good to be reminded that you can prepare for the menopause. Well… kind of.

You can start preparing for the symptoms at least, finding ways to improve them where possible. You can’t exactly prevent the menopause from happening, but you can get your body ready.

Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly, as this can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the increased risk of chronic health conditions.

It’s also important to get enough sleep so your body is well-rested. Avoiding caffeine in the evening and winding down before bed can help you adhere to a regular sleep schedule. And put down that mobile device an hour before bedtime.

Stress and breathing
Practicing deep breathing and relaxation strategies can assist with this too, as well as helping to reduce your stress and anxiety levels.

Avoiding the heat
Hot flushes can occur at any time during the day, typically lasting for a few minutes. Be sure to avoid any triggers such as alcohol or spicy food in order to help you deal with this.

As your oestrogen levels begin to drop during the menopause, every part of your body is affected. You can investigate HRT, but staying healthy and eating for menopause will help loads.

Changes in the workplace

The government published Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England in December 2021. This outlined plans to appoint the first ever Women’s Health Ambassador, giving a voice to women, including those who are menopausal in the workplace.

The UK Menopause Taskforce is said to be working with employers to promote best practice for supporting women with menopause at work, such as workplace adjustments and flexible working, sick leave, and open conversations to break the taboo.

Whatever happens, we need to keep talking and moving forward to support those working through menopause. And getting the right support where available.

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