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Just as every woman is different, so are the various physical and emotional changes she may experience during menopause. This article briefly overviews menopause, its symptoms, onset, duration, and potential treatments.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a natural transition that all women go through as they age. However, when reaching that stage, women’s ovaries stop producing eggs, and their body no longer makes oestrogen and progesterone hormones.
At What Age Does Menopause Start?
During this transition, a woman can no longer get pregnant due to the absence of eggs. The change usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. The average onset age is 51. However, for some women, it can start earlier or later.
What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?
For most women, this phase is a time of transition and transformation. It can be a time of significant change in their lives, both physically and emotionally. During that time, many women experience the following:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings and
- Weight gain.
Some women also experience other symptoms, such as:
- Irregular periods
- Memory problems
- Joint and muscle aches
- Breast tenderness
- Changes in sex drive
- Thinning hair
One of the most common menopause symptoms is hot flashes. Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, sometimes accompanied by sweating and flushing of the skin. They typically last a few minutes and can happen several times a day or night.
Night sweats are another prevalent symptom. Caused by fluctuating levels of hormones, specifically estrogen, night sweats can be highly disruptive to your sleep.
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For some women, this phase of significant changes can be a time of great anxiety. The heightened stress might be due to the physical changes and the necessary psychological adjustments. In addition, many women feel they are losing their youth and femininity. This perceived loss can be difficult to grieve.
Researchers estimate that about 35% to 60% of women in postmenopause suffer from sleep disorders. During perimenopause (the period preceding menopause), 16% to 47% of women tend to sleep poorly.
The consequences of poor sleep are serious. Being unable to rest at night affects all health functions, from the immune system to the brain’s functioning. In addition, it can contribute to accelerated ageing.
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The Cause of Menopause: Hormone Imbalance
Oestrogen is responsible for regulating your body temperature. When oestrogen levels drop, your body cannot regulate its temperature, which causes hot flashes and night sweats. The most prevalent therapy, hormone replacement therapy, supplies hormones to create a balancing effect.
If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms, it is vital to tend to them. There are treatments available that can help relieve them.
How Long Does Menopause Last?
It lasts only a few months, but its physical symptoms can last for years. Some women report experiencing them for the rest of their lives, including the accompanying mental and emotional changes.
What are the Potential Treatments for Menopause?
There is no one unique way to manage this transition. Some women seek medical help to manage their symptoms, while others treat them naturally with lifestyle changes and home remedies. There are many potential treatments for menopausal symptoms, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT), herbal supplements, acupuncture, and relaxation techniques. In addition, a new treatment called hypnotherapy for menopause can provide as much relief as specific hormone replacement therapies.
Hypnotherapy for Menopause: Benefits and Treatment
Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses relaxation and suggestion to treat various conditions, including issues for women’s health.
A 2003 study showed that women who followed a hypnosis program enjoyed better sleep and quality of life. Another study showed that women who received hypnotherapy had reduced anxiety and depression levels and improved sleep quality.
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In 2013 researchers concluded that clinical hypnosis led to a significant improvement in hot flashes frequency, hot flashes severity, and sleep compared with structured attention. The women in the hypnotherapy group also reported more satisfaction with the treatment. The study followed 187 women over 12 weeks between 2008 and 2012. The group that received hypnotherapy had five weekly hypnosis sessions.
The American Menopause Society issued a Position Statement in 2015 highlighting that clinical hypnosis effectively reduced vasomotor effects such as hot flashes.
When considering using hypnotherapy for menopausal symptoms, consulting with a qualified hypnotherapist is essential. Conducted with a certified hypnosis practitioner, hypnotherapy is a safe, non-invasive, and efficient method to alleviate the symptoms. Make sure to discuss your history, symptoms, and expectations for the treatment with your hypnosis practitioner.
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Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment for menopause that replaces the hormones your body is no longer making. Patients take them in different forms, including pills, patches, gels, and creams.
There are two types of hormone therapy:
Oestrogen therapy is the most common type of hormone therapy. It involves taking oestrogen alone or oestrogen plus progesterone.
Progestin therapy involves taking only progesterone or a combination of oestrogen and progesterone.
Hormone therapy can relieve hot flashes, sleep problems, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms. It can also help prevent bone loss while reducing your risk of osteoporosis.
Nevertheless, there are some risks associated with hormone therapy, including an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer. These risks are higher in women who take combination hormone therapy with oestrogen and progesterone. In addition, a slightly higher risk of developing dementia in women who take hormone therapy was also reported.
Other Alternative Treatments
The most important thing during this phase is to take care of yourself– mind, body and spirit. Eating nutritious and healthy foods, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep will help you to feel your best during this time of transition.
It is also essential that you take steps to minimize stress. For example, practices such as acupuncture or yoga combined with a holistic program of diet and lifestyle changes can help reduce stress and maximize results.
When it comes to minimizing hot flashes and night sweats, common sense prevails. Dress in light, comfortable clothing to bed and keep a cool environment in your bedroom. Avoid triggers that may cause hot flashes, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Exercise earlier in the day and avoid exercising close to bedtime.
Additionally, many people wonder how to delay menopause naturally. A stress-free lifestyle and proper supplementation through herbal and homeopathic treatments can help reduce symptoms. Supplements such as black cohosh, soy isoflavones, and evening primrose oil can effectively reduce hot flashes, night sweats and other related symptoms.
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How Do You know if You’re Struggling with Menopause?
The most common menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, poor sleep, mood swings and low libido. Some women also report experiencing brain fog, which can impair their productivity at work.
As always, it is essential to consult your doctor and determine whether you are entering this stage of life. Each woman may have a different set of symptoms; the onset can happen sooner or later than the average onset age of 51 years old.
Renewed Edge: Facilitating Transition Through Life
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is crucial to speak to your doctor, as they may be able to help you manage them. Know that there are several potential treatments for menopause which can help to alleviate some of the symptoms. One self-management tool stands out among the alternative and traditional therapies. Hypnosis for menopause can help you manage the transition. Contact us for more questions today and find out how we can help.