Menopause can be stressful enough on its own, but when it hits early in life, the impact can be especially severe. That's why emotional support is so important for women facing this major and unexpected life transition. If you have a friend going through early menopause, read on for some tips on how to be there and ease her transition through this turbulent time.
Lend a Helping Hand
For young women, menopause isn't often a major concern. For most, it's thought of vaguely, as something that will eventually happen later, but not now. However, if you have a friend facing early menopause and all of its attached implications, including infertility, you know how big of a shock it can be. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make things easier for your friend. Try the following tips:
- Listen. What do you need most when you're going through a difficult time? For many of us, the answer is simple: someone to listen to you. You can do your friend a lot of good by simply sitting down and listening to her concerns and fears about early menopause. She'll likely have a lot to get out, and will appreciate your unyielding support. Menopause can be a turbulent time packed with physical and emotional changes, and your calm presence may help her to see that she is strong enough to handle the stresses and fears that she's been experiencing.
- Go over options. Your friend is likely concerned about the loss of fertility that accompanies menopause. This will be especially true if she does not have children and would like to have them some day in the future. When the time is right, talk openly to your friend about her options for raising children. Choices like adoption and foster parenting are not right for everyone, but may be a good fit for your friend.
- Go out. Make a point of treating your friend to things she enjoys. Take a trip. Go shopping. Go out on the town. Simply hanging out with your friend as you always have will show her that you care and help take her mind off of the physical and emotional symptoms of early menopause.
- Understand. From hot flashes to mood swings to irritability, your friend is going through a lot. Don't judge her if she lashes out at you or otherwise behaves in ways she hasn't in the past. The best thing you can do is to be patient and understanding.
- Be there. Women going through early menopause often just need someone to be there when they need them. In other words, they need a friend like you.
If your friend's early menopause symptoms are especially severe, you may want to gently encourage her to seek medical attention. A doctor can help her understand her symptoms and seek appropriate treatment options. Click on the links below to learn more about the symptoms of menopause.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Early menopause: Johanna's story. Retrived November 23, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/menopause/Pages/Prematuremenopause.aspx
- Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html#p