Be it their menstrual cycles or menopause, women are often written off as being unpredictable, irritable, moody and someone from whom one should maintain safe distance on-those-days.Yes, sometimes, we women are irritable and unpredictable when we are on our periods or during our menopausal phase. Yet, we show up for school, college, work or are available at home to deal with the day without any excuses, along with the various surprises that a womans biological system throws at her.While the menstruating days are a tough phase to crawl and cross, the menopausal phase, as much as it may seem liberating, it is different chapter a woman deals with altogether.As a woman, I hate to admit that I may not have been as supportive as I should have been to my mother when she was going through menopause. Instead of helping her out, trying to understand what she is going through, my family and I berated her for her irritability, the constant hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain and the general tiredness. We are long overdue for the compassion, care and empathy to our mothers. In fact, apart from our mothers, we owe an apology to all the teachers, aunts, grandmothers and every menopausal woman, we have rolled our eyes at.Dr. Asha Dalal, Gynaecologist Obstetrician, Reliance Foundation Hospital, shares a few tips on how the family can be more mindful, observant and supportive of the women who are treading on this rocky road to menopause.Signs/symptoms of menopauseCommonly in the peri menopausal phase, which is the period leading up to the menopause, many women complain of hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, brain fog and difficulty in sleeping. There are also other issues such as urinary incontinence, dry skin, hair fall and weight gain.Impact of menopausal symptoms on quality of lifeThere is an association between menopausal symptoms and a lower health-related quality of life. Depression and anxiety are the symptoms which have the largest effect on the mental quality of life, along with joint stiffness and heart palpitations, which have the greatest effect on the physical quality of life.Support systemFamily support goes a long way in making the menopausal transition easier. Be more empathetic and calmer when their behaviour seems impossible, without losing your temper and taking it personally. Hearing them out and understanding goes a long way in making a peri menopausal/menopausal woman feel better.Help them to stay physically and socially active. For instance, motivate them to take up physical activities such as cardio and yoga. Encourage them to meet friends, relatives and new people to keep loneliness at bay.Nudge them about getting medical help for their symptoms, when needed. Whether it is vaginal dryness and hot flashes in the beginning, urinary symptoms 10 years down the line, or osteoporosis and cardiac problems later in life.If your partner has low libido and finds sex painful, besides finding medical help, try to find ways to increase intimacy. Express your feelings and appreciation and, if need be, aid her to get professional help to ease sexual problems.