Every menopause journey and experience is different. What works for one woman might not be beneficial for another, but by letting someone you know you’re there for them, it can provide comfort and reassurance during this phase in a woman’s life. Top tips for showing this include:
- being patient,
- being understanding,
- and asking her what she needs.
Alongside this, educating yourself can be really helpful. If you can understand what the perimenopause and menopause is, then it can help you understand any changes in mood or behaviour that your partner, friend or family member is going through.
>Read more: What is the perimenopause?
Knowledge really is power and by being informed you can help support from a place of understanding.
Tip 1: Help keep a symptom diary
Offer to help someone keep a list of the symptoms they are starting to experience. It can be overwhelming when these symptoms are new, especially when they can vary in frequency and severity, so offering to write down what is happening can be a huge help.
With brain fog noted as a common symptom of the perimenopause and menopause, it can be easy to forget to keep track. So, ask your loved one each day how they are feeling and make a note, also keep a scoring system, where you write down how bad they’re finding that particular symptom.
This can also help form the basis of a chat with a GP or menopause specialist, as they can then discuss the symptoms and look at ways these can be managed and treated.
>Read more: Unexpected menopause symptoms
Tip 2: Find resources to help signpost them to
There are multiple sources of information when it comes to the perimenopause and menopause:
- and TV programmes
so, it can be difficult to know where to turn. However, if you know what form of information your loved one usually consumes then target this type first.
If they read articles online, then signpost them to websites that you have looked at yourself. You could then link them to a specific page or section and highlight that you found it useful, and they might too.
Websites such as Women’s Health Concern, Menopause Matters and NHS Inform all have a wealth of information, as well as our own menopause content.
If you use social media, you might’ve seen someone talking about a programme they’ve just watched or a video they’ve seen that helped inform them. Let your loved one know and give them that choice to then watch it themselves.
Tip 3: Search for local support groups
Talking to other women about what they are going through, and what symptoms they might be experiencing can be a great comfort to someone going through the menopause. Sharing any concerns or saying what treatment worked well in a group setting, can help women feel empowered and know that they are not alone.
Ask at your GP practice if they know of any local support groups or have a search online for what might be available.
If your loved one doesn’t want to join a group in person, then there are online support groups and forums where you can ask any question and read about other women’s experiences.
Menopause Matters for example have a forum for this purpose.
Tip 4: Encourage them to seek any workplace support
10% of women leave their jobs due to menopause,1 so encourage your partner or family member to ask what their employer currently has in place, if they haven’t already.
They might feel uncomfortable asking, but there might be other women in a similar position which could then lead to a support network at work. The Menopause Charity suggest that “If menopause symptoms are affecting your work, the first step is to talk to your line manager. It can be embarrassing to talk about your menopause, but being honest about your symptoms and asking for help is an important first step.2
ACAS state: “Supporting and creating a positive and open environment between an employer and someone affected by the menopause can help prevent the person from:
- losing confidence in their skills and abilities,
- feeling like they need to take time off work and hide the reasons for it,
- having increased mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and depression,
- leaving their job.3
It can be difficult to see your loved one experiencing symptoms and changes in their body and mind, but by having open conversations and arming yourself with the facts on what is happening to them, it can help create a supportive environment and a sense of understanding for both sides.
- The Menopause Charity
- How to talk to your employer – The Menopause Charity
- Managing the menopause - acas