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Menopause, The New/Old Hot Topic

Pat Duckworth HPD, NLP (Master Prac)

Pat Duckworth is a Women’s Wellbeing Strategist, author and international public speaker. After over 30 years working in the public and voluntary sector at a senior management level, Pat retrained as a therapist and coach with the Quest Institute. 

Since then she has published five books including the award-winning ‘Hot Women, Cool Solutions: How to control menopause symptoms using mind/body techniques.’ Her latest book, ‘Menopause: Mind the Gap – the value of supporting women’s health in the workplace’ was published in January 2021.

Pat makes the subject of menopause accessible and provides practical advice for women and their employers.

https://www.roystonhypnotherapy.co.uk/

Menopause, The New/Old Hot Topic

The subject of menopause seems to have occupied a lot of column inches and air time in 2021, partly due to the Davina McColl documentary on Channel 4. But it’s like one of those ‘overnight success’ stories that was years in the making. There was the Kirsty Wark ‘Let’s Talk about Menopause’ programme in 2017 and the Mariella Frostrup documentary ’The Truth About Menopause’ in 2018, plus countless celebrities telling the stories of their experiences.

So, what has changed?

Firstly, women are talking more openly about the whole range of symptoms that may be experienced. There are the physical symptoms such as the hot flushes, night sweats, poor sleep, fatigue, changes in menstrual cycles and dry, itchy skin. Then there’s the emotional symptoms such as anxiety, low mood, mood swings, loss of confidence and anger. Finally, there are the cognitive symptoms that can make women feel like they are in the early stages of dementia such as brain fog, poor memory and difficulty making decisions.

A second factor is that a new generation of women are looking for answers and are prepared to advocate for the treatment they want. Many of these women have careers and lives that they do not want to see disrupted. Getting help may be more challenging that it sounds; a poll by Dr Jill Newson found that 79% of women had to visit their doctor multiple times to even achieve a menopause diagnosis. Shockingly, 15% of those questioned said they had waited more than six years to receive a diagnosis from their doctor.

An important factor is that employers are taking the subject of workplace menopause more seriously. This started with the requirements on employers made by the Equality Act 2010 which has led to four cases taken to Employment Tribunal being decided in favour of the women employees who were experiencing menopause symptoms. Add to this the fact that there are more women over 50 in the workplace than ever before and it is the fastest growing demographic in that space.

Employers are starting to realise that if they support their employees through menopause, they can achieve improved performance, less absence, higher morale and better staff retention.

Treatment Options

Various research studies have found that around 75% of women experience one or more symptoms at menopause and about 25% experience frequent and intense symptoms. Symptoms may last anything from twelve months to fifteen years. What is important to remember is that decisions made at this stage of life can affect a woman’s health for the next 40 – 50 years of her life.

Apart from the medical options of hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants and sleep medication, there are many self-care and complementary therapy options that can support women to mitigate their symptoms.

In the area of selfcare it is essential for women to look at their nutrition. Food can trigger a range of symptoms and the right foods can support the body through the upheaval of the hormonal changes. Keeping a food journal for a month can help to identify the triggers. Common triggers include caffeine, high sugar content foods and drinks, red meat, and alcohol.

Regular exercise is beneficial in reducing all the symptoms. A mixture of cardio-vascular and resistance exercises is particularly helpful.

There are many benefits to be gained from mindfulness and relaxation techniques during the years around menopause. They help to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety that can lead to poor sleep and hot flushes. A research study in 2008 found that relaxation combined with hypnosis and visualisation was very effective in reducing the incidence and intensity of hot flushes and night sweats.

The Good News

Yes, there is good news! Post-menopause, many women enjoy the freedom from the monthly cycle of menstruation. Also, they no longer need to be concerned about unwanted pregnancies.

One woman described it to me as being like ‘pressing the re-set button’, as she found a new energy and passion to pursue her career and purpose.

Yes, there is good news! Post-menopause, many women enjoy the freedom from the monthly cycle of menstruation. Also, they no longer need to be concerned about unwanted pregnancies.

One woman described it to me as being like ‘pressing the re-set button’, as she found a new energy and passion to pursue her career and purpose.

A Quest trained Cognitive Hypnotherapist can ease you through the transition and change the negativity around this phase of life. Instead, you can embrace the opportunity to make changes to create a happy and healthy second 50 years.

 

References

Mariella Frostrup ’The Truth About Menopause’ 2018 , BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bt4c3m

Elkins G, Marcus J, Stearns V, et al: Randomized trial of a hypnosis intervention for treatment of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors. J Clin Oncol doi; [epub ahead of print on September 22, 2008]10.1200/JCO.2008.16.6389