Healthy and Happy Relationships During and After Menopause

“It’s never too late -never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.” —Jane Fonda

Most of us believe that being HAPPY is our goal in life, and we often define our happiness in terms of our relationships.  While some fortunate women sail through peri-menopause into menopause with few symptoms or ill effects, many of us DO NOT!  Happiness seems elusive when you do not feel like yourself, and this affects how we are in our relationship with our partner, husband, or significant other.

The average age of menopause is 51, which is not so old these days. You could easily have many happy and healthy decades ahead of you and in fact, research suggests that happiness typically increases as we age.  Why then, is this time in our lives often so challenging for our relationships?

Menopause affects all of our relationships: those with our husbands or partners, as well as with our children, parents, friends, and colleagues in both positive and sometimes negative ways.  There are many positives.  Freedom from pregnancy brings sexual liberation, financial freedom and freedom from child-rearing responsibilities bring time for intimacy, time for nurturing friendships, new and old hobbies, and time to explore sexually.  Whether married or single, most boomers report they still want to have happy, sexual and intimate relationships.  They also admit that many of them do not.

Many women experience the common symptoms of menopause – irritability, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, low libido, ‘brain fog,’ and vaginal dryness. These symptoms can make any and ALL relationships challenging.  It is difficult to be loving, sexual, kind, and patient in the throes of hot flashes, anger, exhaustion, depression all while not feeling like yourself anymore.  To make matters worse, many physicians prescribe the usual RX cocktail consisting of Ativan and Prozac which may make you numb, but may not help you live the life that you want at this age!

There are solutions.  Here is a list of my best and most useful tips to help you sail (even at half-mast!) into menopause with a healthy and happy relationship intact or perhaps even better than ever!

  • Educate yourself on the hormonal changes you are going through, and then educate your loved ones so they understand.  You are your own best health advocate and as such, you owe it to yourself to be informed.  Put yourself in the driver’s seat: this will help you feel more in control of YOU even when you do not always recognize yourself.
  • Humour: find it, use it and spread it around!  Sometimes laughing together at the changes you are both experiencing helps.
  • Try new sexual positions if you are having more aches, pains, and reduced mobility.  Be playful and have some fun!  Accommodations can make you more creative.  Use femMED’s Libido to enhance arousal, increase lubrication, and sexual response.
  • Be more emotionally intimate:  listen to each other, touch with affection, kiss more, share music or heartfelt notes.  Appreciate your love and connection.
  • Make healthy choices to support hormone balance using supplements and good nutrition.   I have used personally and recommended to many clients the Hormonal Balance for PMS and peri-menopausal symptoms and absolutely love the ingredients in Menopause Relief.   All the natural ingredients I want to see in a Menopause supplement are contained in this product.  It works for many women to help them manage night sweats, hot flashes, and mood swings.   Good quality amino acids (protein) will help balance your serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain.  They are our “feel-good” neurotransmitters.
  • Get support from close friendships.  Women provide a safe and nurturing place to discuss changes occurring.  Women also love to share good information with each other.
  • Practice loving kindness to yourself and to your partner.  “Let it be” – some things must just be let go of.  In this vein, be clear and non-judgemental in your communication with your sweetheart about the things that really matter.
  • Remember that intimacy is THE glue that holds relationships together; however, this is not just wild, crazy sex on the kitchen counter.  It is also cuddling, holding hands, kissing and being affectionate.  Oxytocin is our bonding love hormone and all of these things bring it on!

 

Remember Buddha’s words:  “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and attention.  Be happy and help others be happy”.   Menopause is simply a natural and normal phase all women will go through.  Let’s sail through it being our best!

 

Camille Lawson  RN, BA, MEd.    March 2014

 

 

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Excited but not “Excited”: Enhancing Sexual Desire in Time for Valentine’s Day

Welcome February. Characterized by its long, grey days and accompanying cold winds, February doesn’t really leave us with a whole lot to get excited about. It is arguably the most insufferable month to endure, until you remember that smack in the middle of it is Valentine’s Day: the auspicious occasion that allows you to guiltlessly leave the kids at home and your work at the office, and celebrate your relationship.  (I don’t care if it was popularized by Hallmark to sell greeting cards; if it gives me an excuse to eat unlimited chocolate then I’m into it)!

So you’ve booked a babysitter, made the reservations, and have finally dropped those holiday pounds in order to fit back into your sexiest dress (or you haven’t…but you look great all the same). You should be excited, but if you’re one of the 18 million women in North America who suffers from low female libido, you’re probably more anxious than anything else. Valentine’s Day is by nature a day to celebrate relationships, and by extension is just as inherently a day to celebrate sex. If you’re not interested in this integral part of the holiday, then quite frankly, Valentine’s Day sucks. There are dozens of reasons why women lose their sex drive, which include but are not limited to:

  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of confidence
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Insomnia/fatigue
  • Environmental toxins (smoking, pollution)
  • Depression (and antidepressants)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Relationship issues

Most women who are suffering from low libido are not apathetic. They want to want sex, but they just don’t. Whether this lack of interest in sex is due to psychological, environmental, or physiological factors does not change its repercussions. Low libido can affect a women’s body image, mood, and self-confidence, and can leave us with feelings of disappointment, frustration, and inadequacy. Needless to say, no woman should ever have to struggle with these feelings, and it was with this in mind that femMED created femMED Libido.

There are over 25 FDA-approved treatments for men suffering from issues related to their sex drive, but there is currently very little on the market for women. Obviously medications like Viagra have been extremely successful in revitalizing many men’s sex lives, but most women aren’t looking for an equivalent. While a magic “Viagra for women” pill that you can ingest an hour before sex is an attractive quick-fix, what is more appealing is targeting the core issues affiliated with low libido and implementing a natural solution to improve sex drive.

Women experiencing low-libido are often less easily aroused, less sensitive to touching and stroking, prone to vaginal dryness and psychological discomfort, lack pelvic blood flow, and have difficulty achieving orgasm. The ingredients in femMED Libido work together as sex-drive enhancers and are successful in maintaining and increasing sexual desire, enhancing sexual satisfaction, and enhancing sexual response, thus combatting and often fully alleviating these symptoms. When these symptoms are targeted and relieved by the herbs for female sex drive in femMED Libido, women can start desiring and enjoying their sex lives, which will contribute to their ultimate personal, social, and physical fulfillment.

For many couples, Valentine’s Day is just a “Hallmark holiday,” but for others its importance is rooted in the fact that it is representative of their relationship as a whole. For these latter couples who normally play the grand gesture game, staying home and watching Breaking Bad is indicative of a larger problem. If that problem is female sex drive, then femMED Libido is an effective solution that you can find in the Natural Health or Vitamin section of just about any pharmacy in Canada. Unlike Viagra, it takes between 2-3 weeks of consistent daily use to achieve its best results, and so now is the time to start “warming up your engine” in time for Valentine’s Day (and every day after that). If you’re in the “I-think-Valentine’s-Day-is-a-whole-load-of-commercial-crap-camp,” but also experiencing a low sex-drive, then try femMED Libido so that you can go back to getting the most out of your sex life on any given day. If nothing else, (the desire for and practice of) sex will give you something to do during this long winter month!

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Approach Sex Like Exercise

This morning I woke up and glanced sleepily over at my alarm clock. Then I asked myself the same question I’ve asked myself on so many other mornings: “Should I go to the gym, or go back to sleep”. Hmm, my bed was so cozy, and I could easily close my eyes and drift back off into La La Land. Yes, sleep—what a good idea. But then another thought disrupted my slumber: “Get your butt out of bed…you always feel better when you start your day with a workout…you’ll be glad you did it”! So, with a grunt and a sigh, I hauled myself out of bed and made my way over to the gym.

Sure enough, just a few minutes into my workout, I had found my groove and I was feeling strong and energized. After my shower I felt calm and relaxed, and I thought to myself “You see, aren’t you glad you worked out?” Indeed I was!

And then it occurred to me: What if women approached sex the same way that I approached the debate over my morning workout? Did I lose you? Okay, hear me out. How many times has your honey turned to you with that twinkle in the eye that begs the question: “how bout tonight?” and you reply with “I’m so tired”. And no doubt, you are tired. But think back to the last time let yourself be convinced to trade in the few extra z’s for a playful romp in the sac. You likely started out very reluctantly, but with a few of the right moves, your libido is awakened and it starts to feel good—really good. Exercise and sex share many benefits. Both help to improve energy levels; reduce stress; increase blood flow, sensation, and circulation; and promote a more restful sleep. So, sometimes it makes sense to approach sex like exercise, boost libido naturally, and take a lesson from Nike: “Just do it”!

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13 Reasons Why Sex is Good for You

February 12th is Sexual Health and Reproductive Health Awareness Day and isn’t it fitting that this day falls just before Valentine’s Day?  In honour of both of these special days, I thought it would be appropriate to shine a spotlight on the “health” in Sexual Health.  Here are just a few reasons why sex is good for your health:

  1. Sex can help relieve your stress and lower your blood pressure
  2.  Sex can boost your immunity and help protect you from common colds and flu
  3.  Sex burns calories, strengthens your muscles, and can help keep you physically fit
  4.  Sex contributes to more positive self-esteem
  5.  Sex gets your heart pumping and improves heart health
  6.  Sex makes you sweat, which cleanses the skin and helps to improve your complexion
  7.  Sex promotes a sense of calm and relaxation
  8.  Sex contributes to a deeper and more restful sleep
  9.  Sex is a natural pain reliever
  10.  Sex provides protection against prostate cancer
  11.  Sex strengthens the vagina and pelvic floor, which intensifies orgasms and reduces the risk of pelvic organ prolapse
  12.  Sex releases endorphins (the body’s feel-good chemicals), which can improve your mood
  13. Sex strengthens a couples’ intimate connection

So, good sex is indeed good for you…and good for your relationship.   Taking care of your health also means taking charge of your sexual health. Be kind to your body, and nourish your sexual relationships. Make intimacy a priority and do what you can to spice up the quality of your sex life (check out my blog on “8 Tips To Spice Up Your Sex Life). By taking some simple steps, you can really steam up your Valentine’s Day…or any day (or night)!  Whoever thought that getting healthy could feel so good!

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