What do men need to know about menopause? Two of BC's favourite broadcasters, Jody Vance and Lynda Steele, posed this question today on their show, Steele & Vance
And here is my response:
Men (and women) need to understand that conversations about perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause are not gendered. Everyone needs to know how bodies work; those with ovaries and those without. Get curious. Learn about hormone health when cycles are regular, learn what changes can be expected when progesterone declines in perimenopause and estrogen joins that decline postmenopause...and then most important of all, learn about all the available options for investing in your health (or the health of someone you love).
Men (and women) need to know that being a woman is not a diagnosis. She is not meant to suffer (through puberty, periods, perimenopause or postmenopause!)...so please reach out to the women you love, and those you work with, and remind them to put their own name at the top of the to-do list.
Men (and women) need to know that any changes to sexual desire or sexual health most likely have nothing to do with you. So before you "blame perimenopause," consider her stress level and how much sleep she is getting (or not getting!) and then do whatever you can to support her health in these key areas.
When you're learning about the role of estrogen (see point #1), you'll come to understand that vulva and vaginal dryness happens when estrogen and hyaluronic acid decline in postmenopause (there are other reasons too.) Use this knowledge to remind all the women you love to prioritize their vaginal and pelvic health: it's important for sexual health and also important in the prevention of UTIs (urinary tract infections), incontinence and overall well being.
And last but not least, what men (and women) need to know about menopause is this: We deserve to feel amazing. Yes, sometimes the journey towards AMAZING runs through a little place called "not-yet-amazing" but we are smart and savvy and we can learn to navigate any challenges--especially when we have access to quality health information and a team to support your journey. You are on her team! So check in on her, keep the conversation open and offer compassion and grace...to your friends, partners, mothers and workmates. This is really important. Women's midlife health matters...to the health of the world. 🦋 We are the first generation to turn 50 and have 50 more years to plan for. 1 billion women will reach menopause by 2025.
Menopause 101 Masterclass (Guys & Gals: Watch this together + remember to check in on your mother & sisters too!)
Menopause Chicks Guide to Vulva & Vaginal Health (pdf download)