The Menopause: A cool look at a hot topic

The natural symptoms of the menopause can be too ‘hot’ to handle. The most bothersome of these are the hot flushes and night sweats. In addition, and not forgetting the various other plethora of symptoms. These include headaches, tiredness, being irritable, difficulty sleeping, depression, anxiety and palpitations, I could go on.

The NHS recommends the use of hormone replacement therapies, the use of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication. In recent years, there have been calls to improve our understanding of the psychological impact of menopause and its side effects. These include the side effects of the medications. In its place, women are now looking for non-hormonal solutions to their symptoms and the evidence for hypnotherapy has grown.

In 2016, the International Menopause Society produced new recommendations on women’s midlife health and menopause care. Furthermore, The Society provides evidence from research stating that meditation, relaxation, controlled breathing, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness training show promise in managing hot flushes. Additionally, the authors report that hypnosis reduces the frequency of hot flushes and improves sleep quality. Concluding, that women should be advised that hypnosis might be useful for treating and managing these symptoms.

So why would hypnosis help reduce these symptoms, lets take a closer look…

Sleep

A review of the literature into the use of hypnosis (as well as other techniques) was conducted and 76 articles identified in 2015. This review found that alongside medical treatments, hypnosis was found to have a strong evidence base for successfully treating insomnia in these women.

Brilliant!

Hot flushes

In a study in 2011, 180 menopausal women were randomly assigned to either a 5-session hypnosis group or a control group. They found that the hypnosis group experienced a reduction of 74.16% in the number of hot flushes and a reduction in the intensity of those hot flushes of 80.32% whilst the control group reported reductions of only 17.13% and 15.38% respectively.

Great news!

How does the hypnosis work?

We are still unsure how exactly hypnosis reduces hot flushes and aids sleep. A theory suggesting that hot flashes may be a result of a decreased activity of the nervous system. This system sends us into a ‘flight and fight’ state. Similarly, it strengthens the nervous system that reduces anxiety and stress. The parasympathetic nervous system controls this calming effect. It’s soothing effect on the body happens as it reduces our heart rate, calms our breathing and calms our digestion (the lovely feeling we get on the hypnotherapists couch).

Birkdale Hypnotherapy, the sessions are designed to improve the tone of the parasympathetic nervous system through the use of the hypnosis track and in-session trance.

This is why my technique is extremely effective in improving not just a person’s psychological health but often their physical health too. Fantastic!

Attarian, H., Hachul, H., Guttuso, T., & Phillips, B. (2015). Treatment of chronic insomnia disorder in menopause: Evaluation of literature. Menopause, 22(6), 674-684. doi:10.1097/GME.0000000000000348
Elkins, G. R., Fisher, W. I., & Johnson, A. K. (2011). Hypnosis for hot flashes among postmenopausal women study: A study protocol of an ongoing randomized clinical trial. Bmc Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 11, 92. doi:10.1186/1472- 6882-11-92

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