The menopause hit presenter Katja Burkard with full force. Even their relationship was at stake. In an interview with Marians Welt, she tells, among other things, how she got the curve with her partner, the media manager Hans Mahr, and whether the desire for sex diminishes during the menopause.
Moderator Katja Burkard (54) has written a book about menopause. The title is: “Menopause? Don’t panic! My ten secrets for staying cool even with hot flashes.” But at first nothing was cool with her, as she reveals in an interview with Marians Welt.
Marians Welt: Ms. Burkard, it was shortly after your 50th birthday, you noticed that something was wrong, you didn’t even know at the time that you were going through menopause. Can you describe what happened to you there?
Katja Burkard: I suddenly didn’t recognize myself anymore. I was thin-skinned, couldn’t sleep at night, otherwise I sleep like a bear. I realized that I was getting aggressive. Usually I’m one of those people who are really friendly and all of a sudden I was standing in line in the supermarket thinking I want to kill everyone. At times I asked myself: Which being has taken possession of me? Then suddenly I was fine again. That’s the tricky thing about menopause, because as the name suggests, it changes constantly. If I had at least had hot flashes, I would have gone to the doctor straight away, but I haven’t had that once and that’s why I didn’t think that a hormone deficiency could be a cause of my condition.
How did your family deal with it?
My daughters have already said to me: ‘Mom, what’s the matter with you?’ And I thought to myself, ok, I had just dropped out of “Let’s Dance”, so I had more time at home again and brought structure back into everyday life and then they don’t like it when I say: ‘Tidy up the room, clear the table … ‘Only, the environment quickly realizes that something is wrong with you before you even think about it.
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Your husband suspected you were going through the menopause but didn’t dare tell you.
I really want the menopause to have a different image and that you can then say to someone: ‘Don’t you think you’re going through the menopause?’ If my husband had said that to me at the time, I would have, as the saying goes, jumped out of the box (laughs). It must also stop that we women are described as insane because of this.
How can you explain to your family that you are going through menopause?
Once a woman knows she is going through menopause and has a doctor diagnosed it, she could tell: ‘Perhaps I seem more angry or moody, please understand, this is a critical phase right now, but I am trying.’
What else do you advise women to do?
Find a doctor who has additional training in hormone science, this is such a demanding area. Not every gynecologist automatically knows about hormones. When I took hormones, I immediately felt better. This means but not that every woman has to take hormones, there are also herbal substances. Or in the case of breast cancer or a vascular disease, hormones are of course excluded. There are also women whom an alternative practitioner has helped.
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Menopause means the end of fertility. Was that a turning point for you?
It’s such a small death to die there. I only know a few women who still want a child at 50, that’s not the point. But you say goodbye to a phase of life, to a cycle, who has determined our lives for decades.
During the menopause you questioned many things, including your relationship, you were about to break up. How do you get the curve as a couple?
God knows not every couple can do that and I am infinitely grateful to my husband for that our relationship survived. If both discover that they still love each other and have just taken the wrong turn, the relationship still has a chance. And you have to find a way to speak clearly and in an adult way. For many, couples therapy may also help or you can use books to learn how to argue “properly” without just bombarding your counterpart with accusations. You have to learn to listen to the other with a lot of benevolence.
Your book says that things between you and your husband often go unspoken, unprocessed. What do you mean by that?
This is nothing serious. My husband is often not there, then there is something that needs to be discussed, but there is no time for this. At some point, the unresolved conflict issues pile up and with them the misunderstandings And the famous drop that makes the barrel overflow is enough. I am a fan of the fact that you regularly take time for your relationship, you have to nurture it. My husband and I can now moor up pretty well if we get into a fairway again. It’s such an internal alarm system that we know if we carry on like this, it’ll go off again. We laugh about it now. As a couple, you have to keep your sense of humor.
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Cult presenter Katja Burkard just knows how to have fun! Together with partner Hans Mahr she poses on her latest Instagram photo and her funny, perfectly coordinated pose causes some laughs in the comments.
Does the desire for sex decrease during the menopause?
I don’t think that’s another old wives tale about menopause. Women are fed up with a lot of things, including bad sex. But one thing is clear: the better the relationship, the better the sex life. If you look at women who are going through menopause and who are newly in love, there is no talk of a lack of sex. At least not in the cases I know.
Many women dare to start over again during the menopause. You bring some examples from friends. Why does the menopause have to come first for a woman to say: ‘So, now I’m going to reconsider my life?’
I think because our emotional life is challenged so intensely during this time, similar to puberty. Susanne Fröhlich (Bestselling author, editor’s note) once said: ‘Menopause is like puberty with a driver’s license.’ I’m a little jealous that the description is not mine (laughs). But it is exactly the same, because teenagers rediscover themselves during puberty, they change from child to young man or woman. We really grow up with menopause. And when menopause is going well, it makes most women really cooler. Because women around 50 have experienced a lot. If they are wise, they have learned lessons from it. The menopause should give us the phoenix-from-the-ashes feeling: From the very bottom up again very far.
Have you arrived in life?
Yes, now. This knowledge of who you are, what you can endure, that you can fight your way out of a valley. There are people who always go great there. You can’t imagine life taking a different course. Once you’ve fought your way out of something, you appreciate other things a lot more.
You can buy Katja Burkard’s book here.