Menopause…a (very) brief guide for Men!

    Menopause…a (very) brief guide for Men!

    Before all you blokes go running for cover, this is not a man-bashing diatribe of how you all get it so easy while the women of the world carry the biggest burdens.

    Nope; it’s simply a helping hand, we hope, to enable us all to empathise, help and support the womenfolk at a sometimes tough time in their lives, rather than just shrugging and thinking ‘it’ll pass…it always does.’

    This is one of the last subjects to be chatted about around the dinner table or the coffee machine, but finally it seems that menopausal symptoms and effects are on the table.

    So listen up chaps.

    Over 80 per cent of women experience symptoms which often begin in the 40s and can last for several years. The physical symptoms are well known, the hot flushes and night sweats, headaches and joint aches as well as insomnia. Some women experience more severe symptoms than the norm and this can be particularly distressing.

    And these things can lead to an aggravation of psychological symptoms which include anxiety, mood swings, difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness, often caused by irregular sleeping or sleep disturbance. Other pressures, including worries about elderly parents and teenage children just adds to the pressure and can, in isolation, cause symptoms.

    Question: So how can men help?

    Answer: Just stay out of the way.

    No. Unless you’re specifically told to!

    The guiding principle of allyship, or any simple attempt to empathise with a person who has different problems to your own, is not to assume you know how your friend, colleague, wife or partner feels. From a male perspective it might seem like menopause might be preferable to the alternative, but that’s a dangerous assumption to make; so steer clear of that idea.

    Know that any mood swings aren’t aimed at you (unless you deserve it), just as she should know that your own mood swings aren’t aimed at her. Work through them together and make time to do things that you enjoy. A lack of confidence often develops at this time of life so make sure you do nothing, absolutely nothing, to undermine that confidence any further, and try to build it up whenever you get the opportunity.

    Take that as some free marriage guidance if you want.

    How can employers and work colleagues help?

    We need greater awareness among male managers of menopause as an occupational health issue, and a culture where women feel comfortable about discussing their symptoms and the impact it has on their work.

    And then the practical things, which are so easy to do but will make life more comfortable, such as facilities to improve temperature and ventilation and options for flexible work schedules.

    Here at HDN we have a Menopause Support Webinar coming up, planned for August 24th. It will be great to see you there, even (maybe especially) if you’re a man.×576.jpg

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