Understanding Menopause Through Men’s Eyes: Unveiling the Unspoken

When we talk about menopause, the discussion often revolves around women – their experiences, challenges, and treatments. But how much do men know about this transition in their partners’ lives? A 2019 study published in the National Library of Medicine delved into the understanding and perceptions men have regarding menopause and its implications on their relationships.

Survey: Men’s Take on Menopause

To get a deeper insight into how men perceive menopause, an online survey1 was conducted. The questionnaire included 35 questions tailored to understand men’s attitudes and knowledge about this phase in a woman’s life.

Criteria for Participation: Men whose female partners, aged between 45-64 years, displayed at least one menopause-related symptom like hot flashes, sleeplessness, or mood swings. For context, the couples either shared a home or spent significant time together, at least a couple of times a week.

Key Takeaways From the Study

  • Who Took Part? Out of 1,356 eligible participants, 450 took the survey. A significant number of them were aged between 50-69 years, predominantly married, and lived full-time with their partners.
  • Awareness Levels: The data revealed that men are quite in tune with the symptoms their partners experience. Sleep disturbances and lack of energy were frequently recognized. Interestingly, these symptoms were often attributed to either menopause or the natural aging process.
  • Impact on Relationships: For men who noticed these symptoms in their partners, many felt they had a negative influence on themselves, their partners, and their relationships overall.
  • Open Communication: Most men weren’t silent observers. A majority (72%) engaged in conversations with their partners about these changes. Moreover, they believed that their opinion played a significant role (75%) when their partners contemplated treatment or lifestyle changes.

What Does This Mean?

This study showcases that men are not just bystanders during their partner’s menopausal transition. They observe, they understand, and they even influence treatment decisions. However, there’s a need to amplify men’s knowledge about menopause and available treatment interventions. Providing more education on the topic can lead to better understanding, empathy, and support.

Video Summary:

At the beginning of the video2, Dr. Sharon Parrish introduced a newly published survey on men’s perceptions and attitudes toward menopause. She emphasized the importance of understanding the male partner’s perspective, as they can offer valuable insights into the impact of menopausal symptoms both on the woman experiencing them and the man himself.

Dr. Parrish noted that past research has mostly focused on the woman’s perspective, leaving a gap in knowledge regarding the male viewpoint. There were some studies that looked into the male partners of menopausal women either individually or alongside their partners, but these were smaller and didn’t cover as much ground.

This recent study, named the MATE survey (Men’s Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Menopause), stood out. It was a comprehensive study targeting male partners of women undergoing menopause. Over 1,300 men were given a 35-question online survey, and around a third responded.

The primary aim of the survey was to gauge men’s awareness of their partner’s menopausal symptoms and to see if they played a role in influencing decisions about symptom management. If it was found that men were indeed influential in such decisions, then creating educational programs tailored for them could potentially benefit both partners by enhancing understanding of menopausal symptoms and treatment options.

The survey was wide-ranging in its approach. Men identified their partners’ menopausal symptoms and described how these symptoms affected them, their partners, and their relationship as a whole. The survey also asked about their communication and support strategies during this transitional period.

One significant finding was the majority of male respondents expressed comfort in discussing treatment options with their partners. Specifically, 65% of the respondents were open to such discussions, and a whopping 75% felt they could be influential in helping their partners make lifestyle changes or seek treatment for their menopausal symptoms.

Based on these findings, Dr. Parrish advocated for a shift in how we educate about menopausal symptom treatments. The results highlight that men in relationships with menopausal women are actively communicating with their partners about these symptoms. Their involvement and influence in discussions and decisions related to treatment can be pivotal.

Conclusively, Dr. Parrish emphasized that there exists an untapped opportunity. By educating men about menopause, they are better equipped to support their partners, offering more informed opinions on symptom management. This, in turn, could encourage more women to seek treatments, leading to better outcomes for menopausal women and their partners.

1Parish SJ, Faubion SS, Weinberg M, Bernick B, Mirkin S. The MATE survey: men’s perceptions and attitudes towards menopause and their role in partners’ menopausal transition. Menopause. 2019 Oct;26(10):1110-1116. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001373. PMID: 31188286; PMCID: PMC6791510.

2The video above is published under Supplementary Materials, Supplemental Digital Content, menop-26-1110-s001.mov (39M) | GUID: 769B9ED7-81D6-42AD-95B7-1842B2A7D099

Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of The North American Menopause Society.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0

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