The menopause can be tough at the best of times, but did you know complicated friendships could actually make it worse? A new study has revealed that menopausal women who are dealing with stressful friendships, experience exacerbated symptoms.
Here, we’ll look at what the study revealed and why it might be time to wave goodbye to those complicated friendships.
What did the study reveal?
A team of researchers from the University of Arizona analysed data from 11,000 women. They discovered a link between those who were experiencing a stressful time in their social life and increased menopausal symptoms.
Most notably, it was discovered that women who were experiencing a stressful relationship, had a reduction in their bone strength. They were particularly weak around the lower spine, hips and neck. This led the researchers to conclude that psychological stress can directly impact bone mineral density.
When enrolling onto the study, the women filled out a questionnaire which included information regarding their psychosocial stress in relation to the social environment. They were asked to rate their social strain, with answers ranging from 4 to 20. It was discovered that those who gave the highest social strain scores, had a more significant loss of bone mineral density.
How can the menopause affect friendships?
Of course, avoiding social stress when you’re going through the menopause isn’t easy. Due to the symptoms the change triggers in the body, friendships can become much harder to maintain.
Even the best of friendships can start to feel the strain when one person is going through the menopause. One of the largest reasons behind this is that the majority of menopausal women go through a lot of mood swings. This is especially true during the first couple of years after the change.
There is also a drop in the bonding hormone, known as Oxytocin. This crucial hormone helps us to strengthen as well as maintain relationships. As the levels of Oxytocin begin to drop, you start to become less inclined to bond with others.
There’s also a lack of sleep which can greatly contribute to social strain. When you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re automatically going to be more irritable and likely to snap at those closest to you.
These are just some of the ways the menopause can affect friendships. There’s no denying it is more difficult to sustain friendships when you’re going through the change. However, if you suspect the problem is more than just your hormones, you may need to rethink your friend’s involvement in your life.
If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from the menopause and that it is affecting your family relationships and friendships, the first step is to book a Menopause Health Check. Call 07835 736627 to arrange a consultation.