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How to get help with the Menopause - effective tips and therapies for perimenopause and beyond.

What is the menopause and perimenopause?

Menopause marks the end of the menstrual cycle. Lower hormone levels mean that periods become irregular and eventually stop altogether. Once there has been no menstrual bleeding for a period of 12 months, it is classified as the menopause. It usually happens between the ages of 45 – 55. But it can happen earlier or later. Anyone who has periods will experience the menopause. Age is one factor that causes these hormonal changes, but they can also come about as a result of treatment for cancer such as chemotherapy, or surgery that removes the ovaries or the uterus.


Silver haired woman wearing glasses and smiling.


The hormonal changes can cause a range of symptoms, such as anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flushes, weight gain, and disturbed sleep as well as irregular periods.  These may be experienced years before your periods finally stop and can continue for some time afterwards. The term “perimenopause” means “around menopause” and is used to define the time when these symptoms are experienced right up to the menopause itself.

The symptoms of menopause can be very challenging for some women, affecting their relationships, their work and their self-esteem. Help is at hand and there are numerous options to find the right solution for you.



The impact of menopause goes way beyond a checklist of symptoms. Despite increased awareness, there are still lingering negative views associated with menopause. Some women interpret this phase as a loss of sexuality, power and identity while others see it as an opportunity, for growth and positive change. Cultural beliefs and personal situations play a role in shaping these perspectives. For instance, if a woman faces symptoms like fatigue and mood swings during times such as other difficult life events such as coping with loss, caring for elderly parents, relationship issues or financial stress, it's understandable why she may experience negative effects of menopause more profoundly.


The Magnificent 7 tips to help yourself through menopause


1. Follow a Balanced Diet

The food you eat will have a significant impact on your overall health and how you experience menopausal symptoms. Make sure you include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins in your diet. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D like dairy products, leafy greens and fortified cereals play an important role in maintaining bone health. It's advisable to reduce or avoid caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods as they may trigger hot flushes and night sweats in some women.

 


A range of nutritious foods including salmon, avocados and nuts

2. Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Being physically active is key to general good health, mood enhancement and weight management during menopause. Strive for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Whilst some cardio is good for your heart and stamina, be mindful that too much of this type of high intensity exercise can increase cortisol. During the menopause, this has a detrimental impact on your metabolism, and so activities such as walking, swimming and yoga may be preferable. Ensure that you incorporate strength training exercises into your routine to preserve muscle mass and bone strength. Increasing muscle mass will help you burn fat more efficiently. Strength training also joints and bones, improves the gut microbiome, reduces inflammation, increases confidence & stamina.

 

3. Keep Hydrated

Hydration is an important aspect of health for everyone, but especially helpful to combat symptoms of combat dryness and reduces bloating which may arise during menopause. Drinking between 1.5 to 2.5 litres of water a day (6-8 glasses) is recommended, especially if you experience frequent hot flushes or sweats that can increase your risk of dehydration.

 

4. Make sure you get plenty of rest

Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging during menopause because of night sweats and trouble sleeping that can be cause by increased anxiety or noise sensitivity. Try to stick to a consistent bedtime and get up time each day. Getting early morning light is important to set your circadian rhythm. Take time to set up an optimum sleep environment, which should be cool and dark. Taking a warm bath or shower can help your body drop its core temperature before bed, which is an important natural trigger to getting a good night’s sleep. Relaxation methods, like deep breathing, meditation or reading before bed can also be helpful.



Sleeping woman

Night waking becomes more common in menopause, as you may visit the loo or notice your body temperature has risen. Choosing natural fibres for bedding such as cotton or bamboo will help you regulate your body temperature and feel more comfortable during the night. Accepting that instances of waking night waking are normal can reduce the level of distress it causes. Practising self-soothing techniques to enable yourself to relax and drop off to sleep again will help you manage this. Avoid looking at the clock during these wakeful times, as this can increase the anxiety of not sleeping, which in turn makes it harder to relax and drop off again.


5. Keep stress in check

Stress can make menopause symptoms worse. Practice stress relieving activities like mindfulness, meditation or yoga. Taking time to walk in nature is also an effective way to decompress and unwind. Regular exercise and engaging in hobbies you love can also help stress levels. Studies support hypnotherapy as an effective method to manage stress at all stages of life, and hypnotherapy during the menopause has proven very useful in helping some women feel calmer and reduce anxiety and panic.


6.  Stay connected with others

Having support is important during menopause. Stay in touch with friends, family or consider joining a support group. Sharing your experiences can help you feel less alone, and you can share tips and advice from those going through something similar.



Group of happy women smiling.


7. Explore supplements and hormone therapy options

Some supplements such as cohosh, flaxseed and omega 3 fatty acids may ease symptoms. Ensuring you have enough magnesium, zinc and phytoesterols will all have a positive impact on your health. Vitamin blends are available specifically to support menopausal health.


Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) could be an option for some women. It involves using medication to replace oestrogen levels, although some treatments also include other hormones such as progesterone and testosterone. It may take some time to find the correct dose and there are a number of ways HRT can be taken from patches, sprays, gels, tablets or intrauterine devices (coil). It’s crucial to talk to your doctor or a clinical menopause specialist about the pros and cons and to find the right solution for you. Not all women can take HRT, and whilst it can be live changing for some, others prefer to manage using alternative approaches.


Which therapies help menopause?


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is an approach that focuses on exploring how our thoughts, feelings and actions are interconnected. Green et al. (2013) discovered that CBT can reduce the distress caused by hot flushes rather than directly impacting their frequency or intensity. It helped women manage their feelings about the sensations and feel more able to cope. Participants, in their study noted a 48% improvement in how they experienced the hot flushes. CBT was also found to be beneficial in easing depression. Current studies suggest that CBT may be a useful approach to help women manage symptoms like flushes, depression, sleep problems and sexual issues (Green et al., 2019). According to the research, the North American Menopause Society (2015) recommends CBT for lessening the effects of vasomotor symptoms but not for decreasing their occurrence.


Some women find reflexology and other complimentary approaches such as acupuncture and massage can be useful ways to ease symptoms and manage stress during menopause. Research shows that hypnosis is proven to be more effective in helping women during menopause than many other alternative and complementary approaches.


How does hypnotherapy help menopause?


Hypnotherapy has been shown to be an effective method to manage stress, anxiety and increase confidence, so it is a natural option for women in menopause. Hypnotherapy for menopause can be used alongside other treatments, or on its own without side-effects. Often this phase of life has added challenges, such as caring for elderly relatives, letting go of older children as they leave home, or managing work related stress. It is not unusual for women to feel a loss of confidence during the perimenopausal years as they navigate new roles amidst a sea of emotional and physical changes.



HypnoMenopause logo

Studies show that hypnotherapy can be hugely beneficial to women during all phases of menopause. The research shows that hypnosis can help women with hot flushes, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction and mood amongst other things. Each woman will have her own unique experience during menopause. Finding a qualified hypnotherapist who will tailor the sessions to suit you as an individual is important. Melanie Davies is a HypnoMenopause ® trained practitioner, offering this specialist combined programme with a personalised focus to meet the needs of each individual client.


Managing the menopause with ease


Despite the challenges, this period in a woman’s life offers a unique opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. With children often grown and career goals met, it’s a time to focus on passions, hobbies, and new adventures that were previously set aside. There is a wealth of life experience and wisdom to draw upon, and with a shift in perspective, it is possible to see menopause as the dawning of a new chapter. Embrace this journey with an open heart, knowing that with the right support, you can thrive and celebrate the unique opportunities that this new phase of life brings, turning it into a positive and enriching experience.


Contact me now to book a free consultation with Melanie Davies Mind Solutions to take the next steps managing your menopause with ease.

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