When your partner goes through menopause, different hormonal changes will affect their body, health, energy levels and mood. They may also have different emotions about coming to the end of their reproductive years.
While every woman’s experience is different, it’s a good idea to learn about menopause and related symptoms so you can support them through this time.
When your partner is going through menopause
What is perimenopause?
What happens during menopause?
Mood and menopause
Sex and menopause
Tips to support your partner
Menopause is a woman’s final menstrual period. It’s a normal and healthy part of ageing.
A woman has reached menopause if they haven’t had a period for 12 months.
Menopause usually happens between 45 and 55 years of age, but it can happen earlier or later, up to around 60 years. Menopause may happen earlier because of cancer treatment, surgery or other unknown causes.
Perimenopause is the lead-up to menopause. Perimenopause usually starts when a woman is in her 40s. On average, it lasts four to six years, but it can last anywhere from one to ten years. It’s very common for women to have physical and emotional symptoms during perimenopause.
During the menopause transition, the levels of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone decline, and the ovaries stop releasing eggs. A woman can still get pregnant during perimenopause, but not after menopause.
All women experience menopause differently. Some have very few symptoms and others have more severe symptoms that affect their daily life.
Women can have a range of physical and emotional symptoms around the time of menopause. These include:
One aspect of menopause that you might notice is mood swings. This is caused by changing hormone levels. It’s common for women to feel irritable or angry, have a low mood, or even feel depressed or anxious.
You may feel that leaving your partner alone to deal with this is the best approach, but it’s important to support them during this time.
It’s common for women to have lower sex drive (libido) during menopause. This could be due to many things, including changing hormone levels, vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness (which can cause discomfort during sex) and lowered mood and fatigue.
Menopausal hormone treatment (MHT), vaginal oestrogen and vaginal moisturisers can help treat a dry vagina. Lubricants may also relieve discomfort during sex. Learn more about managing bladder, vaginal and vulval problems.
It’s common for women to be anxious about sex even if they feel physically better. If this happens, you could suggest an appointment with their doctor to learn about different treatments options. You could also encourage your partner to have more ‘me time’ (for example, yoga, relaxation or meditation classes).
There are many things you can do to help your partner through the different stages of menopause.
This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at August 2022.
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