Recently menopause has become a hot topic,
and with good reason.
Menopause is a natural stage of aging that affects women between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age 51 years. Periods start to become less frequent over months or years before they eventually stop. For some women they can stop quite quickly.
If you notice the signs of menopause before the age of 45 you may want to consult your doctor to rule out any other reasons for a change in your normal cycle.
Menopause symptoms can include:
- Brain fog
- Tiredness/lack of energy
- Loss of confidence
- Hot flushes
- Reduced libido
As you look to manage menopause symptoms and explore treatments, you will find there are many different treatments you can use. From over-the-counter remedies, prescription hormone replacements and alternative therapies it is important to find what works for you.
Hormone therapy replacements (HRT) may not be suitable for everyone. It may be that it isn’t tolerated well by the person, there are medical reasons such as recent clots, heart issues, some cancer diagnoses or newly diagnosed or uncontrolled high blood pressure. It could be that a more natural approach is preferred.
Many women look to alternative therapies to manage their symptoms and have found that hypnotherapy has been successful in many cases. As we know issues with sleep can contribute to many of the symptoms women experience during menopause. A study into sleep disturbances found that there were ‘significant reduction of poor quality sleep in all groups with a significant increase in minutes slept in all groups’.
As many women don’t want to take hormone replacement therapy, hypnotherapy is a genuine alternative. Hypnotherapy has also been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, and hot flushes. It can be used to increase self-esteem, libido, and concentration. It can also help to manage weight gain and mood swings.
Hypnotherapy also works well alongside other options such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy programmes, HRT, and lifestyle changes.
As different types of alternative therapies increase, it is important to ensure that the treatments you decide to use are having a positive impact on your symptoms and work well alongside each other. Any contraindications should be discussed with your G.P.
Working with a competent hypnotherapist you can work together to create a programme of treatment that manages your specific symptoms and helps you to transition into a new stage of your life. Click here to find out how hypnotherapy can help you.
Tips for dealing with menopause
- Track what contributes to hot flushes. It could be alcohol, stress, or caffeine. There are many different triggers for your flushes, and it can be helpful to avoid these triggers where possible. Taking slow, deep breaths during a hot flush can help you through the flushes which can last 3 minutes or more.
- Exercise can support sound sleep. Exercise has proven effective at reducing stress, relieving tension and boosting your mood. Unfortunately, sleep disturbances are common during menopause, and as many as 71% of women struggle with issues with sleep. It can be useful to look at your sleep hygiene to support a healthy sleep schedule.
- As you enter menopause, you may notice things changing during sexual activity. The skin of the vagina or genitals can become thinner or dryer due to the change in hormones. There are lots of things you can do to help. You can try vaginal moisturiser or non-prescription, water-based lubricants. Your doctor can also prescribe medication for dryness and painful sex. You can even try vaginal creams or rings. The more sex you can have, the better, as this will increase blood flow and keeps things healthy.
- Approximately 75% of women going through perimenopause or menopause experience hot flushes, and during the night, these flushes consist of heavy sweating (hyperhidrosis), which can interrupt sleep. Keeping a diary can be helpful in spotting triggers such as drinking alcohol or caffeine, eating spicy foods or wearing tight clothes. Reducing stress and establishing a nighttime routine can be beneficial, as can wearing layers so you can adjust your temperature as needed. Maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful, as can exercising during the day.
- Mood swings are common for women going through menopause, with up to 70% of women stating that irritability is their primary symptom, especially in the earlier stages of menopause. Women going through menopause can feel weepy and experience crying episodes, sometimes over situations that have not affected them before. Regular exercise promotes physical and mental well-being. Being active relieves stress and improves mood. Meditation, yoga, and mindful movement can make it easier to manage anxiety and irritability. In addition, changes to diet, such as including foods rich in omega 3 and protein, can help to reduce menopausal symptoms.
- Hormonal changes during menopause can affect your hair and skin. Around the age of 50, your body doesn’t make as much collagen, and your skin can become less elastic. The lower estrogen level can make you more prone to thinning, sagging and wrinkles. Give your skin more moisture and keep it hydrated. Continue to wear SPF and protect your skin from the sun. Eating more antioxidants can support your skin from the inside, so eat as many different coloured fruits and vegetables as possible.
- Studies have found that women undergoing menopause, specifically the earlier stages of menopause, may notice a decline in cognitive function and have ‘brain fog’. For many women, symptoms may be mild and disappear over time. Once other issues, such as Alzheimer’s, have been ruled out, lifestyle changes can help to ease your symptoms. Eating a balanced diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids can be beneficial. A lack of sleep can worsen ‘brain fog’, so getting enough rest is essential.
- During menopause, testosterone and estrogen levels start to drop, making it difficult to become aroused, and causing vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal wall. Other factors such as weight gain, mood swings, hot flushes, and decreased self-esteem can also reduce the desire for intimacy. It is helpful to work with the symptoms as they manifest. Exercise and a balanced diet will support your mood and decrease stress and increase positive emotions. Over the counter, lubricants can help ease dryness and increase libido if one issue is pain during intercourse. Build intimacy in your relationship by holding hands, kissing, and touching each other in a non-sexual way. Communicating with your partner might also boost your libido. It is important to be as open and honest about where your relationship is and what you are experiencing.
- You can find more information here if you want to learn more about natural ways to manage your menopause symptoms.