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Menopause

Carefree during the menopause

You will probably know that perimenopause is when our body begins to prepare for the cessation of periods and menopause is the name given to the time when a woman hasn’t menstruated for one year. However, to make it simpler we generally refer to this whole transition as menopausal. For some women it can be a time of physical and emotional turmoil that lasts for years, while others experience only a few symptoms for a few months. Of course, any time of change requires adjustment and as our bodies and minds adjust to these changes, it can be helpful to adapt alongside them and try and support them in the best way possible.

Further training in The Menopause Relief Programme* has highlighted for me the extent to which hypnotherapy can help to ease hot flushes, night sweats and related sleep and anxiety problems amongst other things. In a 2012 clinical trial by Professor Gary Elkins in the USA**, it was found that clinical hypnosis effectively reduced hot flushes and associated symptoms and the reduction of hot flushes was recorded to be between 70-80%. Furthermore, the remaining group experienced them with far lower intensity.

Dietary and lifestyle factors may increase the severity of some symptoms and we can use hypnotherapy to support clients to make helpful changes there too. Perhaps more importantly stress appears to exacerbate menopausal symptoms, so when we use hypnosis for stress release and anxiety reduction, the other symptoms can naturally improve as a result.

Some women benefit from hormonal support and it is always good to speak to your GP if you have any questions or concerns. However, many women increasingly prefer not to take HRT and choose to follow natural routes including supportive foods and herbs, aromatherapy and acupuncture. There is also a large group of women who are advised not to take HRT, certainly for any length of time, due to a possible cancer risk for them. There are many ways to work with your body gently through this transition and hypnotherapy gives everyone the opportunity to receive support and to learn how to support themselves.

The menopause sometimes coincides with changes in health, work and relationships as well as significant life changes such as children leaving home, parents needing care, bereavement and loss. The end of child bearing years is another loss and a poignant time for many women. It can be particularly challenging for those who didn’t have the children they had hoped for.

Mid-life is seen as a time where both men and women reflect on their lives, often focusing on regrets, looking back at what they didn’t achieve or what they have lost. At the same time they wonder what the future holds and some people can feel very low when worrying about their future health, how they will cope with ageing, is it really all downhill from here?! This can lead some people to search for new meaning and purpose in their lives, often creating it anew. Others become stuck, haunted by regrets, unfinished business or unresolved childhood experiences which can reappear at this time too.

These emotional stresses can potentially exaggerate menopausal symptoms. Interestingly, we often find that symptoms ease when these concerns are given attention and care, when we acknowledge them and release or resolve them through hypnotherapy sessions or with a counsellor. There is a wealth of scientific evidence indicating that unresolved emotional trauma and unmet needs can contribute to disease, so by taking care of ourselves in this way we could also be creating a healthier body as well as a healthier mind.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed by menopausal symptoms we can take back control and make it a time of positive transition, where we have the opportunity to resolve any past issues, release things that don’t serve us anymore, and move through into another stage of life. When we acknowledge our achievements and joys as well as our pain and losses and accept them as part of our story so far, we can decide to use this next chapter to create and maintain as fulfilling and healthy a life as possible.

Just as adolescents experience physical changes alongside actual life changes, from childhood into adulthood, in menopause women’s bodies are changing in the same dramatic way, so, it would seem quite natural that their lives will be changing around them too. But it is important to be aware that we are not just losing things, we are shedding things, we are not becoming invisible, we are becoming something else. And just as adolescents need guiding and nurturing, adults can benefit from a little extra support at this time too.

Hypnotherapy for menopause relief can be taken as a structured programme of 6 sessions or individual appointments. Recordings for home listening are included for extra support. Please contact me to find out what is most suitable for you.

How can hypnotherapy help?

  • It can reduce the number of hot flushes you experience
  • It can reduce the intensity of hot flushes
  • It can help to increase your confidence levels
  • It can reduce stress and anxiety
  • It can alleviate panic attacks
  • It can aid sleep
  • It can assist with intrusive thoughts
  • It can support changes in diet, lifestyle and motivation
  • You will learn how to take control of how you respond to hot flushes
  • You will learn how to cool your body down with easy to use techniques
  • You will learn how to relax, reduce stress and anxiety by yourself
  • You will learn how to see things in perspective and take back control, rather than feel overwhelmed
  • You will receive practical advice for a hormone balancing diet as well as general health
  • It is safe, natural and comfortable
  • You will take back control and feel empowered
  • No drugs are involved and women who cannot take HRT now have an alternative method of support

Every woman has their own experience, but here are some common symptoms we can support with hypnotherapy

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Loss of confidence
  • Weight gain
  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Decreased libido
  • Insomnia
  • Intrusive thoughts about past trauma
  • Unresolved emotional issues

*12 common triggers for hot flushes, their quick fixes and ideas for prevention

You might find it helpful to keep a diary to identify your own triggers. You can carry out most of the quick fixes below yourself due to their simplicity, while others you will learn during the hypnotherapy sessions.

Stress and anxiety

Bring your attention to the present moment, whether it is your breath, your feet on the floor, a sound in the room

Bring to mind an image of a place where you feel relaxed and safe, or a person or pet that helps you feel that way and allow yourself to be there in that moment with all the same feelings of calm

Hypnosis recordings

Self-hypnosis

Belly breathing

Meditation and mindfulness

Hot and hot together, eg hot drink and a hot meal, cooking in a hot room

Take a cold drink

Remove one of the hot things

Too many clothes, covers

Thin layers of clothes and bed linen

Use natural fibres where possible

Enclosed spaces

Open doors and windows

Belly breathing

Visualisations of open spaces

Focus your attention on something in the room which is very ordinary or comforting eg your feet on the floor, an object

Tiredness

Early/sensible bed time

Reduce stimulation in the hour before bed time, eg no screens, caffeine drinks

Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis for sleep

Consider yoga, tai chi, qi gong to balance your energy or complementary approaches such as acupuncture, aromatherapy or herbal medicine

Low sugar, hunger

Eat three regular meals a day and make sure you eat enough protein with each meal

Or, it may suit you better to eat smaller meals more often, so try it out for yourself

Some night sweats may be due to low sugar levels at night so you could try having something small and healthy about an hour before bed

Red and white wine or any grape based alcohol

Avoid wine and if you do decide to drink it be aware that you could have a hot flush

Strong emotions such as anger

When the body is flooded by stress hormones they need to be burned off by doing some physical activity, exercise and/or deep relaxation, meditation, self-hypnosis or belly breathing.

Rushing around, busy lifestyle

Reorganise your diary/lifestyle as much as you can to enable a more steady pace where possible, with plenty of rest time to recharge

Include mindfulness, meditation and relaxation

Early mornings and late nights

Where possible adapt your routine to suit the amount of sleep you need

Too many carbohydrates

It could be the amount of carbohydrates or specific foods like potatoes, so notice if any specific carbs have been eaten prior to a hot flush

Dehydration

Drink plenty of water, keep a bottle with you and add ice cubes if you wish

Food balance

Be aware of how you react to caffeine, sugar, alcohol and other foods to help you identify triggers

Foods can be our medicine, helping to balance our hormones and support our changing bodies. You will find plenty of information online about foods which support the balance of oestrogen, progesterone and even testosterone. These can include nuts, seeds, soya, beans, pulses, some grains, certain fruits and vegetables and more. If appropriate to your personal health history, you can include these foods to help ease your body through this transition.

Healthy eating habits

*Information based on The Menopause Relief Programme by Helen Breward, 2015 copyright

**Professor Gary Elkins, Baylor University, Mind-Body Research Centre, USA, 2012