Having “the talk”: Top tips for discussing your menopause with loved ones
You think you might be going through menopause…but how do you help your loved ones understand?
If you’ve grown up with it as a taboo (as most have), you might be embarrassed, or not entirely sure what’s happening yourself.
At the end of the day, you want to tell your partner, family, or friends in the way that’s most comfortable to you. But it can be difficult to know what that is…
How do I tell people I’m going through the menopause?
- How do I tell people?
- Do your homework
- Reassure loved ones…
- …and educate them
Some people would rather sit down and have a discussion with their loved ones. Explain that you haven’t been feeling yourself lately and you know it’s the menopause.
Choose a moment where you have your friend or partner’s attention, and leave some time for them to ask questions or for you to talk about things together.
You may find that writing a letter is easier for you. Or leave a few menopause books lying around at home for people to casually read.
Do your homework
Menopause can be very confusing. What actually is it? Are you in it? Are you too young? Too old?
Before talking to your family and friends, you may want to go on a fact-finding mission to discover all you can about this natural life stage.
You shouldn’t have to learn it at all alone, but it might help you to process what’s going on before you explain it to your partner, family, or friends.
A good place to start is knowing which stage you’re in:
Top tip: Write down all your symptoms and score them out of 10
- If you’re having symptoms but you’re also having periods, you’re likely to be in the perimenopausal stage.
- If you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, you’re post-menopausal.
Then, when you talk to your family and friends, you’ll have a better understanding of your symptoms and you can explain how they’ve been affecting you
Menopause: What you need to know in numbers
Get your head around what’s going on inside your body.
Reassure your family and friends…
This is your
menopause and you should put your own wellbeing first. But your family and friends might have concerns, and these are important too.
Your loved ones may have noticed subtle or dramatic changes in your mood or behaviour. You might be a bit snappy or find yourself suddenly bursting into tears while watching a film - or even for no apparent reason!
Understandably, they may be wondering what on earth is going on.
Memory loss in particular can really worry those closest to you. It’s very common during menopause and isn’t usually a sign of anything more sinister, but partners may fear the worst if they don’t understand that it’s due to declining oestrogen.
When it comes to intimate relationships, you might find yourself pushing your partner away. That’s why doing your homework can help – if you understand what’s happening to you then it’ll be much easier to explain it to your loved ones.
…and educate them.
Now you’ve explained you’re having menopausal symptoms, it’s important your loved ones know how it affects your day-to-day life.
No matter their age or sex, it’s vital everyone understands what it is so they can offer support.
Talking to your friends could help you all. You may feel comfortable to discuss some embarrassing symptoms, but your friends may not (or vice versa).
Sharing your experiences will help normalise it and help others understand what’s happening to their bodies.
Top tip: Research can be fun!
There are some great resources that provide accurate menopause advice and support.
We’ve spoken to broadcaster Mariella Frostrup and journalist Alice Smellie on our podcast, The Wellness Edit, and heard how they’re breaking the (unfortunately still-present) stigmas. Why not listen to the episode with your partner or have a “menopause evening” with friends?
A few laughs and good conversations help everyone realise how common menopausal symptoms are: most importantly, you’re not alone
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Last updated: 21 September 2022, *source: hollandandbarrett.com