Five Things You Should Never Say to Women in Menopause

by Holly Osterman

People sometimes say the stupidest things without even realizing it. It’s usually because they don’t think. Or they may just not understand the hormonal changes and mood swings many of us are experiencing. But if you’re talking to women in menopause, carefully consider the words that are coming out of your mouth. Women in menopause have feelings and those feelings are on a heightened sense of alert.

Are we being overly sensitive? Maybe so, but here are a few examples of thoughtless comments I’ve heard recently—some from my own family—that struck a nerve:

  1. You’re too young to be in menopause.  According to whom? Studies show that the average age of menopause is 51. However, some of us can begin experiencing symptoms in our thirties or forties and we want validation.
  2. What’s your problem? Oh, I don’t know. My pants are too tight, I can’t remember whatever it was I were supposed to remember, and it’s so freakin’ hot outside. But I’m not outside. It’s a bad day and the last thing I want is to listen to someone else’s smart mouth.
  3. Isn’t there a pill you can take for that? For what? Menopause? If there was a happy pill that cured all menopause symptoms, do you think millions of women would be walking around wondering what the heck is going on? These words have probably been uttered by more than one ill-informed husband who has since avoided eye contact. Or any kind of contact, really.
  4. Hot flashes are no big deal. No, they didn’t just say that! Maybe not for some women, but hot flashes can certainly be a big deal for others. Hot flashes are inconvenient, disruptive, and not a lot of fun in general.   So unless you’ve personally experienced them, keep your comments to yourself.
  5. You sound like my mom.  Nobody wants to sound like someone else’s mother. In fact, we avoid sounding like our own moms. And to make matters worse, you don’t want these words to come out of a twentysomething’s mouth while she’s showing you a new wrinkle cream at the beauty counter. Just put the product in the bag and shut it.

You don’t need to walk around on eggshells near every menopausal woman. Just be considerate. Women in menopause are going through some very dramatic life changes and we need a little compassion. So be kind to your wife, sister, friend, or mom. She’ll be back. But in the meantime, if you think you shouldn’t say it, you’re probably right.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Haralee August 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The thinking, wait until it happens to you can not be helped!!

Magnolia August 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

And my favorite……”Why don’t you just get a grip?” Grrrrrrr…….don’t get me started.

Barbara Younger August 22, 2012 at 6:05 am

For some reason, I was fine talking about the physical stuff but the mental stuff just felt too scary and too private. If I had to do it again though, I’d be a lot more open with my husband and friends about the negativity and sadness.

Holly August 24, 2012 at 8:58 am

I think many women feel the same way. It can be very hard to express the emotional issues we face during menopause.

Joanna September 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

As a woman that stopped wearing a winter coat and uses a hoody all winter, the one that gets to me is “Aren’t you cold?” What are you supposed to say to that? It’s none of their business, but I can’t be rude, so I usually just say no. I wish I could say something like “Why, yes I am-I always sweat like a pig when I’m cold”. LOL Well, I can dream !

Yolanda December 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

hey cristina thkans so much for your comment on my blog! nice to meet another spaldingite and someone who understands what it’s like to struggle with cancer. i’m glad you got some laughs out of my posts. speaking of cancer, judging from your post today, looks like i have yet another thing to (possibly) look forward to down the line. *sigh* ah well, what can ya do. feel free to keep in touch. take care, and ciao for now

jean fearns September 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm

people dont under stand its a very emotional issue menopause and its makes me cry .when i do talk about it they have no idea how i feel with this menopause.

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gill November 30, 2014 at 12:47 am

I want to start a humerous blog on what not to say to a menopausal woman.

I am in hospital with chest pains and the young male consultant said as part of my ”care plan” that i should ‘manage my stress’ e.g. by going to the gp and talking about it. Hahaha haha haha. 51 year old mother of teenagers and job in IT, I want to say these pains are NOT CAUSED BY STRESS I can tell the difference i have had STRESS all my adult life and also in childhood I HAVE TRIED EVerything and read all the books. IT IS STRESSFUL TO BE TOLD YOUR CHEST PAINS ARE CAUSED BY STRESS WHENYOU KNOW THEY ARE NOT. GETTING A GP APPOINTMENT IS STRESSFULL And GPS ARE ALL ABOUT AGED 15 IN MY GP PRACTICE AND have no time to discuss stress with me will just prescribe antidepressants which ive had before….. rant… rant

However if i say all these things its not really helpful so i need a place on the internet to say them.

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