The change, the time of life, whatever we like to call it, is an unavoidable chapter of our lives that all us ladies will go through at some point. This journey can be a time of great change, knocking us sideways and causing a great deal of emotional stress. To add more confusion, there isn’t even a clear starting point, plus…it can go on for years.
We are all unique with our own experience but there are some common early symptoms many women share. During perimenopause (the transitional phase shortly before the occurrence of the menopause), oestrogen levels will decrease which in turn causes a number of changes within our bodies; hot flushes, night sweats, night chills, disturbed sleep, mood swings, weight gain, memory loss and many more. Hot flushes are probably the most common symptom with the night sweats in particular causing lots of discomfort and disruption. Lack of sleep can have a huge effect on us, as tiredness can affect our daily lives in such a big way…performance at work, how we think, our relationships, even our appetite. Feelings of anticipation, dread, or fear can also be very common. I have spoken to many women about their menopause symptoms and most of them talk about hot flushes and about how they panic when they are experiencing one, worrying that people will see they are sweating or red in the face. This can lead to feeling extremely anxious, on top of other anxiety around our other symptoms. A vicious circle of constantly trying to cope and feeling as though we are losing our minds.
I was recently reading a very interesting article by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) who say that studies have shown that our attitude can have a tremendous impact on our experience of the menopause, in particular hot flushes. For example, the more negative our thoughts are about hot flushes, then the more intense they will be. If we can change our negative thought patterns, it can result in a reduction of symptoms. The NAMS panel found evidence that a few therapies do work in helping with hot flushes, including two behavioural approaches, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Clinical Hypnotherapy.
The following was also reported on the British Menopause Society website –
“Randomized, double-blind, controlled trials showed that a cognitive-behavioral therapy approach that combined relaxation techniques, sleep hygiene, and learning to take positive, healthy approaches to menopause challenges was significantly effective in reducing women’s ratings of hot flush problems (although not their number). And randomized, controlled trials of clinical hypnosis demonstrated the approach was significantly better than a “structured attention” therapy approach in postmenopausal women with frequent hot flushes and significantly better than no treatment in breast cancer survivors. The NAMS panel recommends these two mind-body approaches.”
Lots of women will try different things to help them during this time and it can often take quite a while before they find something that will work for them, as there is so much on offer. Some may not find anything to help them and it has even been reported that fewer than one in 10 women will seek medical advice with many women just “putting up with it”.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help address the thought patterns around panicky feelings and help to quieten the mind. It can help change your perspective in the way you think and feel about what is happening to you and you can learn how to react differently to situations. It can be a fantastic feeling of empowerment if we are able to take control of how we are experiencing these symptoms.
I think it’s fair to say ladies that the menopause can be very challenging, even affecting our self-confidence along the way. It is a very important time for taking take care of our emotional well-being and to give our body some tender loving care. If you notice your symptoms leave you feeling as though you don’t even know yourself, or even like yourself anymore, then perhaps it’s time to try something new. My hypnotherapy sessions can help you to feel calm and relaxed and more in control of your thought patterns surrounding your symptoms. We will work together to reduce stress and help you to feel less anxious.
Something else I learned too. Interestingly, in Japan they don’t have a word for menopause because middle-aged women are highly valued. It is not seen as a negative phase, but a positive transition, in which women are older, yes, but wiser too.
The trees during autumn can offer us inspiration for embracing change, making way for new growth and blossoming again. So let’s see if we can make this “time of life” a positive chapter for you too.
If you would like to make your menopause a more positive experience, please get in touch, I would love to help you.
Mandy Holmes DSFH HPD
Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist – Hypnotherapy in Shrewsbury, Shropshire