relationships

Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause? By Staness Jonekos

Opposite Sides Argument 2

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?

I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!

Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”

Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?

Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.

Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.

Ladies first.

Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.

Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.

During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”

Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.

Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.

If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.

Gentlemen — your turn.

How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.

Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.

Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company ;)
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.

Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.

Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.

Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.

Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.

This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.

References
Montenegro, X. The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond. AARP, May 2004.
Brizendine, L. The Female Brain. New York: Broadway Books; 2006.
Jonekos, S. and W. Klein. The Menopause Makeover. Ontario, Canada: Harlequin Enterprises; 2009.

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Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause? by Staness Jonekos

Opposite Sides Argument 2

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?

I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!

Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”

Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?

Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.

Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.

Ladies first.

Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.

Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.

During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”

Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.

Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.

If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.

Gentlemen — your turn.

How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.

Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.

Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company ;)
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.

Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.

Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.

Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.

Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.

This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.

References
Montenegro, X. The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond. AARP, May 2004.
Brizendine, L. The Female Brain. New York: Broadway Books; 2006.
Jonekos, S. and W. Klein. The Menopause Makeover. Ontario, Canada: Harlequin Enterprises; 2009.

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Posted in relationships

Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause?

Opposite Sides Argument 2

by Staness Jonekos
Co-author of The Menopause Makeover

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?

I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!

Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”

Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?

Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.

Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.

Ladies first.

Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.

Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.

During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”

Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.

Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.

If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.

Gentlemen — your turn.

How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.

Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.

Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company ;)
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.

Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.

Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.

Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.

Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.

This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.

References
Montenegro, X. The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond. AARP, May 2004.
Brizendine, L. The Female Brain. New York: Broadway Books; 2006.
Jonekos, S. and W. Klein. The Menopause Makeover. Ontario, Canada: Harlequin Enterprises; 2009.

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Posted in relationships

Will Your Marriage Survive Menopause?

Opposite Sides Argument 2

by Staness Jonekos
Co-author of The Menopause Makeover

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a recent survey conducted by AARP Magazine. Why are women running away from marriage?

I wasn’t even married when I slammed into menopause months before my wedding day at the age of 47. Despite being completely in love, I almost ran away and my fiance almost married bridezella!

Experts say the number one reason for divorce is lack of communication. My response from the ladies corner, “When everything you know to be normal is being kidnapped by changing hormones, communication may be last on the list. Throw in lifestyle changes, health and aging issues, and you are left in a small evaporating puddle of low self-esteem feeling hopeless.”

Many men blame lack of sex as the leading reason for midlife divorce. But is it? AARP poled 1,682 adults ages 45 and older on the importance of sex. Two-thirds of men (66 percent) and about half of women (48 percent) agreed that a satisfying sex life was important to their quality of life. That is only an 18 percent difference. So is it lack of sex, or a breakdown in communication chasing the women away?

Navigating a course in uncharted territory can test any relationship emotionally and sexually. It can also bring a couple closer — it did for me.

Purchasing midlife marriage insurance can help combat the unforeseen hazards during the menopause transition. How do you qualify for this love insurance? The first step is to understand how menopause can affect your love life.

Ladies first.

Menopause is a life transition that can affect you physically and emotionally. Your body is experiencing fluctuating hormones that can cause hot flashes, night sweats, itchy skin, migraine headaches, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness and irregular periods. Eighty percent of women will experience uncomfortable symptoms, and the majority struggle with midlife weight gain.

Many women feel unattractive going through so many uninvited changes. Some suffer from exhaustion, depression and moodiness leaving them feeling isolated and confused.

During menopause a woman’s brain also goes through changes. Dr. Louann Brizendine (author of The Female Brain) says, “The mommy brain unplugs. Menopause means the end of the hormones that have boosted communication circuits, emotion circuits, the drive to tend and care, and the urge to avoid conflict at all costs.”
There are additional factors on top of fluctuating hormones that may contribute to a lack of communication and interest in sex.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover and leading menopause expert, informed me, “If a woman is taking medications, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, contraceptive drugs, antihistamines, sedatives, antihypertensives and/or medications for blood pressure, this can also decrease sexual desire.”

Midlife stresses brought on by career change, the loss of a loved one, empty nest syndrome or caring for elderly parents can contribute to a declining libido.

Throw in aging issues and the last thing on a menopausal woman’s mind is communicating. This woman is in self-survival mode, and may be in no mood to connect or make whoopi.

If she is in an unsupported relationship while managing this collection of changes, leaving the marriage may appear like her only salvation.

Gentlemen — your turn.

How many factors listed above is your partner experiencing? It is no surprise why men are afraid of menopause. His woman is changing in front of his eyes.

Women are not alone suffering from changes. Men also have midlife challenges, both physically and emotionally. Declining testosterone can affect libido, moods and sexual performance. Generally a man’s hormones change gradually compared to the woman’s experience during menopause, so it may not be obvious to the man that he too is changing. Some of these unwelcomed changes may include midlife stress, as well as health and aging issues. If both partners are experiencing change, the relationship may be on an emotional roller coaster.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common, according to the National Health and Social Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors.

It is no surprise that most men associate menopause with having less sex. But, it does not have to be this way. The man can actually help save a shaky midlife marriage with some handy tools to power charge the relationship. Women who have a supportive partner often have a smoother transition through menopause. When she is happy, he is happy.

Acquiring midlife marriage insurance takes action to make a difference.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Him
1. Listen to her; don’t criticize or try to fix her.
2. Go with the flow; be prepared for mood swings.
3. Be compassionate, and validate her experience (that means agree with her, don’t try to fix her).
4. Be romantic. Bring her flowers for no reason. Make her dinner. Give her a massage. Make it about HER.
5. Cuddle more. Tell her you love her and that she is beautiful. You may just get lucky. If not, do not take it personally.
6. If YOU are not in the mood, keep her company shopping, she will love the company ;)
7. Support healthy eating and exercise choices. Join her for a walk or go on a hunting expedition at the grocery store to find new healthy foods.
8. Don’t ignore her menopause symptoms. Talk about it. Ask her what she needs to feel better.
9. Offer support if she needs to visit her healthcare provider to discuss menopause symptoms, a low libido or depression.
10. If numbers one through nine fail – disappear for a while. She may be seriously cranky and need space to focus on herself.

Success depends on going through this transition as a team! Both partners must contribute to have a successful marriage.

Midlife Marriage Insurance For Her
1. Track menopause symptoms and discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.
2. Make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise most days of the week. Eat nutritious meals. Watch portions.
3. Update your beauty regimen.
4. Build a support group.
5. Communicate with your partner. Don’t shut him out – let him know what you need. Understand he may be confused by your changes.
6. If you are not happy in your current relationship, discuss counseling.
7. Be receptive to creative adjustments in lovemaking activities.
8. If your libido is low and/or you are suffering from vaginal dryness, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare practitioner. There are hormone and non-hormone options available.
9. Pamper yourself.
10. Try to stay positive.

Communicate, support each other’s needs, get counseling if needed, add romance, adjust lovemaking activities, and your odds increase that your marriage will survive menopause. Being on the same team will nourish a healthy, loving relationship that can last a lifetime.

Life is constantly changing, and marriage is no different. Have real expectations, and acknowledge that your relationship goes through transitions. This will help you weather difficult times.

Midlife is an opportunity for both men and women. If you are prepared, informed and willing, your marriage can survive menopause. A loving relationship supported with good communication can strengthen your love life at any age.

This menopausal bride made it down the aisle of love. Both my partner and I said “I do” to communication and romance during menopause. We are still happily married five years later and ready to leap over the seven-year itch together.

References
Montenegro, X. The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond. AARP, May 2004.
Brizendine, L. The Female Brain. New York: Broadway Books; 2006.
Jonekos, S. and W. Klein. The Menopause Makeover. Ontario, Canada: Harlequin Enterprises; 2009.

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How To Feel Sexy During Menopause

by Staness Jonekos, co-author of The Menopause Makeover

The baby boomers may have been the generation of the sexual revolution, but for many slamming into menopause, sex is the last thing on their minds!  Both sexes can suffer from a declining libido as we age, but women don’t have a little blue pill to pop to get their mojo back. What’s a menopausal girl do to reignite the flame of desire?

After women pass through perimenopause into menopause, almost 50 percent are left with an unanticipated loss of libido and vaginal dryness.  Vaginal dryness can affect the libido.

Estrogen, important for maintaining vaginal health and lubrication, is the hormone that actually plumps up the cells in the vagina. When estrogen levels decline, the vaginal walls can become thinner, less elastic and dryer.

Not only does the physical act of intercourse become a challenge as a result of vaginal dryness, but the emotional dialogue that goes on in one’s head when lubrication no longer comes naturally, can increase stress levels for the woman and the man.  This double whammy can end in frustration and confusion.

Treatment Options

  • Bioadhesive lubricant, such as AstroGlide, can provide immediate relief.   Replens, a vaginal moisturizer, may be applied twice a week. Lubrication can offer vaginal protection and both are available over-the-counter.
  • If vaginal dryness is your only menopause symptom, you may consider using local estrogen treatment.
  • Low dose hormone therapy may bring relief.

It is important to discuss vaginal dryness with your doctor to confirm that you are not suffering from a vaginal infection.

Approximately 47 percent of women experience sexual difficulties, according to the National Health and Social Life Survey and the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors, with a decrease of sexual desire being the most common.

Other aspects that may contribute to a declining libido are pain during intercourse, lack of sexual thoughts, aversion to sexual activity, lack of receptivity and relationship dissatisfaction.

Addressing the physical, emotional, and environmental changes that often accompany mid-life, can make a proper diagnosis challenging.

Factors that affect sexual health

  • Emotional: Feeling unattractive, being depressed, feeling tired, suffering from lack of sleep, moodiness, feeling isolated, not being happy
  • Fluctuating hormones
  • Medications:
    • Antidepressants
    • Mood stabilizers
    • Contraceptive drugs
    • Antihistamines
    • Sedatives
    • Antihypertensives
    • Blood pressure medications
  • Medical conditions:
    • Depression
    • Thyroid disease
    • Androgen insufficiency
    • Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Neurological disorders
  • Cultural issues
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Midlife stress:  career change, relationships, loss, divorce, caring for parents and financial concerns

If you are suffering from hot flashes and a poor self-image, combined with taking antidepressants and blood pressure medications, can be a recipe for a declining libido.

As many as half the patients who take SSRIs report some sexual dysfunction.

Per The North American Menopause Society (NAMS): “In contrast, the antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin), which works in a different way from SSRIs, was found to improve sexual functioning compared with placebo in a small study of nondepressed women and men with desire and arousal difficulties. This finding is interesting but requires more study to confirm it before bupropion should be used specifically for treating sexual problems.”

Once you find the culprit that kidnapped your mojo, you have options.

Managing a declining libido

  • Discuss options with your practitioner.  If fluctuating hormones are affecting your libido, there are therapies available.
  • Review current medications and medical conditions.
  • Talk to your partner
  • Consider counseling or sex therapy, or both
  • Adjust lovemaking activities: try warm baths before genital sexual activity, extend foreplay, incorporate massages, change your sexual routine, experiment with positions, discuss sexual fantasies
  • Use lubrication
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise most days of the week, and consume alcohol moderately
  • Commit to new stress-management practices, like acupuncture, biofeedback, yoga

When women notice that their sex drive is diminishing; many seek out a prescription from their doctor for a does of testosterone thinking it will fix the problem.

Dr. Wendy Klein, co-author of The Menopause Makeover, says  “The use of testosterone to treat a diminished libido is still controversial.  The FDA has not approved testosterone therapies for women suffering from a declining libido, but there have been preliminary scientific studies and extensive anecdotal reports that support the use of this therapy for improving the libido.”

A little compounded testosterone gel may be worth considering, but keep in mind that it has not been FDA-approved to treat a declining libido and long-term safety data is lacking.  Women who are on testosterone therapy should be monitored for increased lipids, excessive hair (hirsutism) and acne.

DHEA is another hormone that is often promoted as a libido booster.  When you purchase DHEA, it is a dietary supplement, not a drug that is regulated by the government.

Dr. Wendy Klein says, “If your DHEA level is tested and shown to be below normal, then it may be reasonable to take a supplemental dose of 25-50 mg daily.  However, if your DHEA level is normal, then there is no reason to take DHEA as a supplement.”

If you do decide to use an alternative therapy be sure to tell your healthcare provider so that he or she can be on the lookout for side effects and interactions.

Besides the effects of menopause, it is also normal for your libido to decline with age. Between the ages of 55 and 65 sexual activity slows for men and women, but don’t give up.

There are many benefits to having a healthy sex life:

  • Sex burns about 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex.
  • Regular sex promotes circulation and lubrication.
  • Having sex three times a week can make you look and feel ten years younger, thus boosting self esteem.
  • Sex is the safest sport you’ll ever enjoy.
  • Sex releases endorphins into the bloodstream producing a sense of euphoria that can reduce depression.
  • Sex is a stress reliever. It is ten times more effective than Valium.
  • Sex can relieve headaches by releasing the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.
  • Sex is a natural antihistamine that can help with asthma and hay fever.
  • Sex can lower your cholesterol by tipping the HDL/LSL (good kind/bad kind) cholesterol balance towards the HDL (good) side.
  • Regular sex can boost estrogen levels. Estrogen keeps your hair shinny and skin smooth; helps reduce the chances of getting dermatitis, and rashes.
  • The actual sex act triggers the release of oxytocin that promotes more good feelings.
  • Sex can help you sleep better because the levels of oxytocin, a sleep-inducing hormone, can be five times higher than normal during love making.

Discussing your declining libido with your healthcare provider and partner is the first step to managing a healthy sex life. It is also a perfect time to build strong communication skills with your partner. The more your partner understands your menopausal journey the more supported you may feel.   If less sex is agreeable to you and your partner, enjoy other bonding activities.  Men may also notice changes that can affect their libido. Being able to discuss your libido will open the door for him to connect and communicate as well.

Going through menopause can be exhausting.  Feeling good about yourself when everything is changing, from your waistline to your sex life, can be challenging.  Often, nonhormonal options may rescue a lagging libido and spice up your sex life.

Once you have passed through the doors of perimenopause, feeling sexy is possible with proper management.  With continued interest, you can get your groove back and feel sexy during menopause and beyond.

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Relationship Tip

Going through menopause can be challenging both physically and emotionally, affecting your relationships. If you find it difficult to communicate verbally with those who are reacting to your moodiness, crankiness, spurts of anger and requests to turn on the air conditioner, it is often easier to express yourself in a letter.

This suggested letter may give you a head start.

Dear ________________,

Lately I have not been feeling like myself. Despite the daily stresses we all experience, I am going through perimenopause (menopause, postmenopause or surgical menopause) and suffering from uncomfortable symptoms. This is a normal, natural part of a woman’s life. Yet, I am feeling anxiety about my changing body, roller-coaster emotions, constant hot flashes and aging that are starting to unfold in my life. Unfortunately, we live in a society that does not embrace this transition. I would like to ask for your support and understanding as I pass through this important time in my life.

There may be situations when you think I am acting like a crazy woman – or crazier than times in the past – and I am. I assure you, my fluctuating hormones are making me feel out-of-control and cranky. There will be times that I cannot snap back quickly to my normal self. When you want to run away, please know that those may be the very times when I need you most. Offering to help with chores, or asking what you can do to help, would be appreciated. If I growl back, feel free to run and hide; I understand. But know that your love will help carry me through this big-time life transition. If I am freezing you out of the house as I constantly lower the thermostat in an attempt to survive my hourly hot flashes, remember that those extra blankets in the linen closet may save you.

Feel free to ask me questions, so you may understand my journey. I want to share with you. I look forward to when my hormones finish adjusting, so I can feel normal again. Just as puberty may have been traumatic or frustrating to you, menopause is equally exasperating for me. I value our relationship, and wish to continue a loving, strong, fulfilling connection with you.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to understand, support and love me during this passage.

Love,
_______________

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Do you need birth control during perimenopause?

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE IN CINCINNATI

Dear Crabby,

My doctor has informed me that I am in perimenopause. My children are grown and it would be a relief if I no longer had to worry about birth control. I have used a diaphragm most of my adult life with great success, but it is inconvenient and kills “the mood”. In addition, my periods have been irregular. Do I still need to use birth control?

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE IN CINCINNATI

DEAR IN THE MOOD:

The good news is you are “in the mood”. Many women experiencing perimenopausal symptoms lose their interest in sex. If your only concern is birth control-lucky you!

One of the benefits of menopause or post menopause is not worrying about birth control.

First, let’s define the three stages of menopause:

Perimenopause begins about 6-8 years before you reach menopause. During this time the levels of hormones produced by your ovaries start to fluctuate leading to irregular menstrual patterns; such as, irregularity in the length of the period, the time between periods, and the level of flow. At this time you are ovulating on and off, so you could become pregnant. Other common perimenopause symptoms are: hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, weight gain, fluctuations in sexual desire, fuzzy thinking, trouble sleeping, fatigue and depression.

You are officially in menopause when you haven’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. At this point there are no more eggs left for your ovaries to release and pregnancy is impossible.

Post-Menopause is the period of life after you have reached menopause.

Since you are perimenopausal and still having periods it is advisable to continue practicing birth control because your ovaries have not completely stopped producing hormones. You may still ovulate and could become pregnant.

When your ovaries start producing lower levels of hormones you begin to experience symptoms associated with perimenopause. Irregular periods can be the first symptom you notice. Because your natural cycle is changing, some months you may ovulate and some months you may not. Menopause happens when the ovaries stop making enough hormones to stimulate your monthly cycle then your periods stop permanently. Only then can you stop worrying birth control. It is advisable you get confirmation from your doctor.

Since using a diaphragm for birth control can be inconvenient, and “kill the mood”, you may wish to consider one of these other methods of birth control.

Top five most popular forms of birth control

-Birth control pill, 96-99% effective. Using “the pill” is not only effective at birth control (diaphragms are only 85-90% effective) but the pill can help with perimenopausal symptoms. You may wish to discuss this option with your doctor.
-Condoms, 90-95% effective.
-Vasectomy, 100% effective. Many couples opt for this option after they have had their children.
-IUD (Intrauterine device) last six to ten years. This permanent device allows you to be “in the mood” without disrupting spontaneity.
-Norplant, a chemical contraceptive, is a match-sized rod that is inserted into the woman’s arm. It is time released into the woman’s system for up to five years.

Of course, abstinence is 100% full proof, but you signed your letter “in the mood,” so I’m sure that wouldn’t be an option. Continue practicing birth control until your doctor confirms that you are in menopause. If you have more than one partner, practice SAFE sex to avoid any sexually transmitted diseases.

Signed,
Less Crabby practicing birth control

Write to Dear Crabby and get advice about your menopausal symptoms.
If you have:
• Hot flashes
• Itchy skin
• Breast tenderness
• Mood swings
• Memory lapses
• Fuzzy thinking
• Night sweats
• Sleep problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry vagina
• Irregular periods
• Headaches

Dear Crabby has tips to make your life easier.
She wants to hear from YOU.
Send your questions to: DearCrabby@MenopauseMakeover.com

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Posted in ask the expert, hormones, relationships

Low Libido and Vaginal Dryness

NO LONGER INTERESTED IN SEX AND THE DREADED DRY VAGINA

Dear Crabby,

My husband and I have been married for over 10 years and we’ve always enjoyed an active, healthy sex life. Lately, I have been losing sleep because I am no longer interested in sex. When we do make love, my vagina is completely dry and it makes intercourse almost impossible. My sex drive is completely gone. My husband has become very “Crabby”, and I have completely shut down physically.

I am 46 years old, and my periods have become irregular. I suspect that I may be perimenopausal. It has been almost six months since our last sexual encounter and I’m afraid my husband will start looking somewhere else for it. I feel guilty of not “pleasing” him anymore, but even more guilty of not even “wanting” to. Once a woman’s period stops, is it normal to not want sex because we are no longer “baby makers”? Am I “guilty” of losing interest in sex and not pleasing my husband?

GUILTY IN SEATTLE

DEAR GUILTY IN SEATTLE:

The only thing you may be “guilty” of is not having all the facts so you can continue to have a healthy sex life.

Vaginal dryness is a common menopause symptom. Intercourse can be painful if you are experiencing vaginal dryness. When estrogen levels drop, vaginal dryness can occur. Your vagina can tear more easily from friction, and the vagina tissues can lose their elasticity. Estrogen plumps up the cells in the vaginal wall so they produce more lubrication.

It is important to discuss this with your doctor to confirm that you are not suffering from a vaginal infection. Not only does the physical act of intercourse become a challenge with vaginal dryness, the emotional dialogue that goes on in your head when you no longer lubricate naturally, makes the whole encounter stressful. You ask yourself, “Why am I not turned on? He’s doing all the things I like.” Then you think, “What must HE be thinking? Does he think HE doesn’t turn me on?” Next you suspect, “It’s me, what’s wrong with me?” Your only option is to say, “I have a headache”, then roll over and cry yourself to sleep. No wonder you are sleepless and no longer interested in sex.

There is good news. Option #1: Low dose hormone therapy may bring relief. Option #2: A bioadhesive lubricant, such as AstroGlide that can be purchased over-the-counter, may bring instant relief. Option #3: If vaginal dryness is your only menopause symptom, you may consider using local estrogen treatment.

The loss of libido is another common symptom of perimenopause straight through post menopause. The loss of libido can also result from fluctuating hormone levels. Don’t let a decrease in hormone levels blow the flame of desire out of your love life, visit your doctor, take the appropriate tests and discuss treatment options.

Certain medications may also contribute to a declining libido: blood pressure, depression, heart disease, or diabetes medications.

If you need to treat your relationship, visit a counselor.

Besides the effects of menopause, it is also normal for your libido to decline with age. Between the ages of 55 and 65 sexual activity slows for men and women.

A healthy sex life is possible during and after menopause.

If buying lubrication, getting blood tests, and discussing hormones with your doctor seem like an effort, check out the amazing benefits of sex:

-Sex burns about 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex.
-Regular sex promotes circulation and lubrication!
-Having sex three times a week can make you look and feel ten years younger, thus boosting self esteem.
-Sex is the safest sport you’ll ever enjoy.
-Sex releases endorphins into the bloodstream producing a sense of euphoria, that can reduce depression.
-Sex is a stress reliever. It is ten times more effective than Valium.
-Sex can relieve headaches by releasing the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.
-Sex is a natural antihistamine that can help with asthma and hay fever.
-Sex can lower your cholesterol by tipping the HDL/LSL (good kind/bad kind) cholesterol balance towards the HDL (good) side.
-Regular sex can boost estrogen levels. Estrogen keeps your hair shinny, skin smooth; helps reduce the chances of getting dermatitis, and rashes.
-The actual sex act triggers the release of oxytocin that promotes more good feelings.
-Sex can help you sleep better because the levels of oxytocin, a sleep-inducing hormone, can be 5 times higher than normal during love making.

Now, let’s chat about your “guilt”. Women get joy out of pleasing the people we love, especially our wonderful partners. Of the two species, women are usually the “pleasers”. When something changes and we can’t please everyone as we used to, it is common to feel guilty. During perimenopause, menopause and post menopause our bodies are going through natural changes. This is nothing to feel guilty over. Just as our bodies go through a transition during puberty, our bodies also go through a transition as we end our childbearing years. This is a time when we need to pamper ourselves. We may have a little less time to give to others as we devote time to ourselves during this menopausal transition. This is a good time to find other friends going through the same thing, share information, lend support and compare experiences. Talking about “it” can make you feel better. It is a perfect time to build strong communication skills with your partner. The more your partner understands your menopausal journey the more supported you may feel regarding your insecurities.

Purchase a bioadhesive lubricant (Astroglide), visit your practitioner and discuss treatment options, take time for pampering, and being sleepless should only happen because you are making love to your Prince Charming.

Signed,
Less Crabby and More Loving

PS. A note to menopausal women who are in the dating world with more than one partner…. practice safe sex. You may be able to get pregnant and you want to avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease or AIDS.

Write to Dear Crabby and get advice about your menopausal symptoms.
If you have:
• Hot flashes
• Itchy skin
• Breast tenderness
• Mood swings
• Memory lapses
• Fuzzy thinking
• Night sweats
• Sleep problems
• Loss of libido
• Dry vagina
• Irregular periods
• Headaches

Dear Crabby has tips to make your life easier.
She wants to hear from YOU.
Send your questions to: DearCrabby@MenopauseMakeover.com

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Posted in ask the expert, hormones, relationships