A Man’s Guide to Menopause: How it works and what to expect

When a woman is going through menopause, it can be a stressful time for her as well as her partner. During menopause, women have many changes happening through their body that they just can't control, and can put a strain on her well being as well as her relationships.

Dr. Diana Bitner, nationally recognized menopause specialist from Spectrum Health, continues the conversation with us in her "Men's Guide to Menopause," explaining what menopause is and how it effects a woman's body physically and mentally.

Dr. Bitner has heard many comments from women in her office going through menopause complaining about their husbands not understanding what they're going through. As a result relationships can be strained because men either take their partner's behavior or moods personally, or feel like their wife doesn't love them anymore. The fact is women don't really know what's going when they go through the changes of menopause either, making the task of trying to understand a women going through menopause that much harder.

Most men want to be supportive of their wives or partners and want to help in anyway they can, but they just don't know what's going on or what to do to make it better. So Dr. went through the basics of menopause and the most common symptoms that women display during this difficult time.

Midlife changes and menopause do not happen in a vacuum; female body and hormone changes can affect everyone including the spouse or partners, children, co-workers, and other family members. 80 percent of women have significant symptoms between the ages of 42 and 62 including hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, sleep disturbances, fatigue, joint pain, heart racing, worse headaches, heavy and irregular bleeding, and low sex drive.

These symptoms aren't meant to effect anyone else other than the woman going through menopause, and it's nothing personal if a woman's mood does not match up with her typical behavior.

Hormones are another part of the women's body that go through extreme changes, effecting her mood. Body chemicals like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone  go from one part of the body to another with a message of what to do.

For example during a period, estrogen levels go up and down during the month and lead to body changes to promote pregnancy. If no pregnancy happens, then women get their period and the cycle starts all over again. However these levels are completely out of balance once a woman goes through menopause and no longer gets her period.

So what can husbands or partners do to make menopause better? There's no need to make assumptions about what she wants how she feels, just understanding what women go through during this big change is more than enough. Asking simple questions like "What can I do to help?" or "How are you feeling?" can be the difference between a healthy and secluded relationship with a partner. Once there's a better understanding of how women behave, relationships can improve and bring couples closer together.

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner and her blog. Read more.

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