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Hypnotherapy and the Menopause - A Change for the Better?

by Sue Preston(more info)

listed in women's health, originally published in issue 177 - December 2010

"Is it hot in here, or is it just me?"
"One minute I'm up, the next I'm down"
"Too cold, then I'm so hot I'm throwing the bedclothes off me."
"My husband thinks I'm going crazy, and I think I agree."
"I'm losing my hair, but it's growing on my face!"
"My emotions are all over the place. I can't stop crying."
"I have to change my clothes every few hours because I'm sweating so much".

The Change of Life! These are just some of the things that women have said to me when they've come for treatment at my Hypnotherapy Clinic. The menopause can be a difficult time for many women, but it doesn't have to be that way. It can be an exciting time of change and opportunity.
Help is available!

What Exactly is the Menopause?

The menopause isn't a disease or an illness; it's a natural process of change in a woman's life.

The menopause affects every woman who has ever had a period, and it is defined as the end of menstruation (periods). It is a natural process that occurs because of a decrease in the function of the ovaries, which also control oestrogen production. In addition to a decrease in oestrogen levels, menopause results in decreased progesterone levels, meaning that any eggs that are released are less likely to be fertilized.

Many women experience a variety of symptoms associated with this time, as a result of those hormonal changes. These symptoms include:

  • Hot flushes (or flashes if you're in USA);
  • Night sweats;
  • Vaginal dryness;
  • Mood swings;
  • Declining libido;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Ageing skin;
  • Lack of energy;
  • Joint pains;
  • Weight gain;
  • Headaches;
  • Changes in hair quality.

All good fun, eh?

The protective qualities of oestrogen are also reduced, and so the risk of heart disease increases.

The symptoms vary from woman to woman and also in their severity - some will experience mild or no problems, whilst someone else will suffer severe debilitating symptoms that require medical intervention.

The menopause typically begins around the ages of 45-55, although it has been found that smokers tend to have an earlier menopause.

Treatment with Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis has been used for hundreds of years to make changes in the way that we use our minds. Many studies have looked at the mind-body connection and how thought processes can produce significant changes in physical experiences within the body.

Just for a moment, think about your favourite food. Picture it in front of you, vividly see those colours, smell the delicious aromas, taste it, enjoy imagining eating it. Feeling hungry yet? This is how the mind and the body are connected - what you can vividly imagine, your mind perceives as real.

Clinical hypnotherapy can help with many of the symptoms and other issues associated with menopause. Some of the most common presenting issues that I treat include:

Hot Flushes (or Flashes)

Many women firmly believe that these are the worst symptoms to deal with whilst going through the menopause.

Working with a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a client can learn to use suggestions and their focused attention to cool themselves down. Using similar techniques to those used in pain management, clients are taught simple methods of managing their symptoms, such as imagining a control room in their mind, where they can turn down their body thermostat to stop themselves overheating and sweating.

An alternative method may be to imagine herself in a special place where the temperature is just right for her to be comfortable and relaxed, such as a mountain walk or on the beach, with a cool breeze playing against her skin.

Self Image

The menopause is sometimes negatively portrayed and many women feel it marks the start of middle age, a time when their child-rearing days and youth are far behind them.

BUT, as one of my clients told me, 50 is the new 30! (And 70 is the new 50!)

The menopause can be the start of a new chapter in a woman's life. It's a time for many when their children are growing up and becoming independent (we hope!). For some, it's also a time when finances are a little easier and they have a bit more time for themselves.

This is a great time of life to make some other changes - plan for the future and set some great goals and challenges.

Hypnotherapy can help to plan for these goals and help deal with the changes to self-image, alongside supporting self-confidence and self-esteem.


Mood Changes

Mood swings can be hard for someone to deal with - especially if it's your partner whose mood is swinging!

"Where did I put my keys???"

Irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, difficulty coping and forgetfulness may be related to hormonal changes, either directly or indirectly e.g. due to sleep disturbance. However, other life events such as worry over elderly relatives, teenage children, and pressures from work commonly occur around the time of menopause and may contribute to such 'symptoms'.

Hypnotherapy can be effective in helping to cope with these psychological symptoms. Self-hypnosis is an easy technique to master and can empower clients to be in control of their mood.

It might just save your relationship!

Supporting a Healthy Lifestyle

Many lifestyle factors can influence how a woman will experience the menopause. It is well proven that reducing or stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, reducing caffeine intake, reducing stress, eating healthily and taking regular exercise can considerably help the symptoms of menopause

Additionally, as the risk of heart disease increases after the menopause, many women decide that this is the time to make changes in the lifestyle and lose weight, give up smoking, and generally become fitter and healthier.

Hypnotherapy can provide support in achieving this new lifestyle, and increase motivation to continue to make the changes.

Interested in Finding out More?

As with all complementary therapies, it is important that the hypnotherapist that you choose is properly qualified and experienced. The best way to find one that reaches a professional standard of training, is insured and complies with a Code of Ethics is to visit the General Hypnotherapy Register, www.general-hypnotherapy-register.co.uk  For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me personally.

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About Sue Preston

Sue Preston BSc(Hons) MCIEH PCGE NRH GQHP Member GHR CTHA IBS & The CRSST Register, based in Neath, West Glamorgan,is a Registered Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Life Coach. Sue has also undertaken Specialist training in Hypnotherapy and Childbirth, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Depression and Anxiety and has trained in Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) with the UK Academy of Therapeutic Arts and Sciences and is a certified life coach.
 
Sue has also worked in public health in local government for over 20 years, and advises and trains on many different lifestyle issues. She is a Specialist Smoking Cessation Tutor and runs training courses in nutrition and stress management. A graduate in Environmental Health, she is a qualified teacher and a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner. Sue is a member of the General Hypnotherapy Register, the Clinical and Therapeutic Hypnosis Association and is registered on the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Register. She is also listed on the NHS Directory of Complementary and Alternative Practitioners, which allows her to receive referrals from health professionals including GPs, hospital consultants and dentists.

Sue Preston may be contacted on Tel: 01639 638033; info@sueprestonhypnotherapy.co.uk  
www.sueprestonhypnotherapy.co.uk

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