“Sorry We Can’t Help It” – Supporting Your Loved Ones Through Menopause/Andropause

“Sorry We Can’t Help It” – Supporting Your Loved Ones Through Menopause/Andropause

5 min read

Are your loved ones showing signs of irritation easily? They may be going through a life transition. Here’s how you can help.

I’ve never told a lot of people about this, but I’ve recently gone through Menopause. You know, the period where people say women get all cranky for no reason? Well, let me tell you today that it is not for no reason hor. It was a very tough time for me, and I’m really glad Ho Lim and my children were so supportive during this period. So now I think I should tell everyone my story, so you will know how to support your loved ones who are also going through this.

What is Menopause?

Menopause andropause support

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First of all, you need to know that menopause is a very normal process that older women go through. During this time, women stop menstruating and experience changes in their hormonal levels. This brings about very drastic changes in their bodies. Menopause affects every woman differently, both in terms of when it occurs and how it manifests. 

In general, menopause comes between 45 and 55 years of age, however, it can also occur earlier than 45 and after 55. It could also happen abruptly regardless of any age due to a direct external influence on your ovaries that causes them to stop producing hormones.

And it’s not just women okay! Men also go through a similar aging process called Andropause, where their testosterone levels tend to decrease and this can cause physical, emotional, and cognitive changes in them.

Symptoms of Menopause/Andropause

Menopause andropause support

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When I went through menopause, I found myself very easily irritated. I also had a lot of hot flashes and hair loss. But these symptoms vary for every woman because our bodies are not the same.

Menopause Symptoms:

  • Irregular periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • Vaginal Dryness
  • Sleeping difficulties

Andropause Symptoms:

  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Lower self-confidence 
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Erectile Dysfunction

With all these different things happening, you tell me how to not be cranky huh? If you notice that your loved one is going through this, please be understanding and sensitive about it. We are already going through a lot, please don’t say unhelpful things such as “Aiyo, why you like that?” or “Why are you so cranky, never take medicine ah?” If you notice changes in our hair and skin, also don’t go around pointing it out to everyone okay? Chances are, we know the changes taking place, and we are trying to deal with it ourselves.

How can I support my loved one?

Menopause andropause support

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If you want to support someone going through menopause/andropause, the key is to be patient with us. If you are a child, it would be great to spend some quality time with your parents or even give them more time to rest by helping out with household chores. 

My daughter Cathy was very sweet to me when I was going through menopause. She noticed that I was lying in bed more often so she secretly went to help me do laundry and even cooked for the family one night! My son Bobby was also very sensible. He kept asking if he should switch on the air-con while I was battling with hot flashes, as well as spent time talking to me and asking me how I feel.

Attention, partners!

Menopause andropause support

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If your partner is going through menopause or andropause, one helpful thing you can do is to take our minds away from what we are experiencing. When I was going through menopause, my husband, Ho Lim took the initiative to bring the family out on more frequent family trips, and sometimes even took me out for dinner dates. 

The most important thing for me were the times when he was very understanding with me. Sometimes I would get irritated and snap at him, but he would not fight back. Instead, he just soothed me and made sure I felt appeased. When I asked him how he tahan my mood swings, he said he just reminded himself that I am going through a tough time, and learnt how not to take my mood swings personally. 

My sweet ah Lau also gave me my own space to deal with my emotions, and created a safe environment so I felt like I could tell him everything. That really brought a lot of comfort. 

Patience is key

Above all, always have patience with your loved ones. Believe us when we say we “cannot control” ourselves. When we get upset, allow us to be angry, sad, or frustrated, and try to listen to us without judgment. Most importantly, remember to never dismiss what we are going through, or worse, make us feel like we have to go through this alone. 

Having said all that, what every person needs when going through this confusing transition period is different, depending on their lifestyle, personality and habits. It is best to find out what your loved one needs exactly by having sit-down conversations with them, acknowledging what they are going through, and discussing how you can best smoothen this life transition for them.

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