The Menopause Charity
Is your mum seeming different to before? Perhaps she is tired, forgetful, angry and tearful? Whilst sometimes it can feel hurtful and that you are to blame, it might be that your mum is experiencing symptoms of menopause. Maybe she knows but is unsure how to get help, or maybe she is unaware that the feelings she is experiencing are caused by menopause.
As a child it can be really helpful to understand more about what your mum is experiencing and why, as well as some tips on how you, together with the rest of your family, can help support her.
What is menopause?
Menopause happens when women stop having periods; its sometimes known as ‘the change’, Average age for this is 51, although it can occur earlier or later.
Before this happens, women experience perimenopause, this is when a woman’s periods change and they can experience lots of very different symptoms.
If you are a teenager, it can help to understand that your mum is going through hormone changes similar to puberty, only in reverse.
What symptoms might my mum experience?
The symptoms can be vast and affect each person differently. Your mum may notice a change to her periods, they may occur more or less often than before, and be heavier or lighter. This can sometimes take her by surprise and make her feel uncomfortable or nervous in certain situations. She may get hot flushes or night sweats, that means she suddenly gets very hot and sweaty.
She may experience mood swings, feel forgetful, emotional and overwhelmed. This means she might feel happy one minute and sad the next without really knowing why. Your mum might feel very tired and struggle to sleep, particularly if she feels very anxious, another common symptom of menopause.
There are other symptoms that affect how her body looks and feels, that can give her low self-esteem or can prove challenging for her in her relationships, at home, in work or in general.
How can you support your mum through menopause?
- Educate yourself, and others in the family – the more you understand about what your mum is experiencing and the treatment options available the better
- Share information about what you have learned with your mum, including information on treatment options using our website
- Speak with your mum about how she feels at a time when she is not experiencing symptoms such as mood swings or a hot sweat.
- Agree a phrase that your mum can use with the family when she needs some alone time to manage her symptoms. You might also agree that it is ok for you to use this word sensitively when you feel her actions are influenced by her hormone changes (as a teenager this may work for you too!)
- Help them keep a track of their symptoms using our menopause tracker and diary
- Encourage and support them to see their GP to talk about treatment options
- Consider ways as a family you can all adopt a healthier lifestyle;
- think of recipes you can cook full of leafy greens, lean meats and fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon
- find time to move together, make it fun by dancing or even a short brisk walk somewhere new
- create some peace time for your mum where she can rest perhaps to meditate or read alone
Above all, be patient and let your mum know you love them.