The background into using hypnotherapy for menopausal hot flashes
Back in 2007 a research programme was undertaken at Baylor University Texas into the use of Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy (HRT – not to be confused with Hormone Replacement Therapy) in treating breast cancer patients. The research found that there was a 70% decrease in the number of menopausal hot flashes the women experienced over the course of the treatment.
The group were given 5 sessions of Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy plus a CD to listen to, as well as teaching the participants self-hypnosis.
Next, a randomised experiment was undertaken, where the volunteers recorded the number and severity of the hot flashes, night sweats and the quality of sleep, and the results showed a 68% improvement. Later studies have shown an 80% improvement compared with only 15% in the control group.
My own use of hypnosis for menopausal flashes
Being a clinical hypnotherapist who is going through peri-menopause I was intrigued by this work as I too was experiencing hot flashes, but it wasn’t until I started to look into what other women were experiencing did I realise I was actually doing OK compared to my contemporaries.
Spurred on by this, I have devised a similar regime as set out by the research group, which includes the first session discussing the symptoms the woman is experiencing and how the menopausal symptoms are made more pronounced by stress, alcohol, certain foods and why women going through this time of life are more likely to suffer from depression.
Symptoms of the peri-menopause
- Periods are very heavy or accompanied by blood clots
- They last several days longer than usual
- You spot between periods
- You experience spotting after sex
- Your periods occur closer together
- Hot flushes
If you are experiencing heavy periods, it could be you have fibroids -which is caused by hormones. These usually shrink once menopause has progressed, however, they can add complications such as menorrhagia, where the woman bleeds so heavily they develop anaemia.
Symptoms of anaemia are:
- pale skin
If you suspect you have any of these please see your GP.
Hot flashes and night sweats
During menopause, levels of the hormone estrogen become erratic and eventually begin a steady and permanent decline. These changes affect the hypothalamus, which is responsible for the regulation of body temperature. As a result, the hypothalamus often prompts a series of physiological reactions, which women experience as hot flashes or night sweats.
This decline in estrogen also has an effect on libido, on moods, can increase hair loss. Although hypnotherapy would not necessarily affect the hormone levels. The effect it has on the psychological health of a woman, increases her chances of increased anxiety and depression. This is where hypnotherapy can help. It can reduce the stress of all these changes happening within the body, and also help deal with other external issues which may be going on at the same time. Such as divorce, children leaving home, looking after elderly and sick parents.
Case Study – Hypnotherapy for menopausal symptoms
Maureen was in her early 50’s and is taking Hormone Replacement Therapy. This didn’t appear to be very effective. Having been placed on a CBT course and sent to learn mindfulness, she said that she didn’t want the world to know what she was going through and that the doctors were not sensitive to her needs. She couldn’t achieve mindfulness as her concentration was all over the place.
It would take a few sessions of getting to know Maureen that some of the problems she was facing were due to lifestyle. She had stopped working as the fatigue and concentration had stopped her being able to function properly.
It turned out too that she had been diagnosed as depressed years ago and had been on SSRI’s. This I suspected had more to do with the fatigue than the menopause.
She had a relationship with a man who was older and pretty miserable by her account. This wasn’t helping much, as she felt worse after being with him. Not working meant that she had nothing to get up for. It was a circular problem.
Her hot flashes were still occurring and disturbing her sleep, and it was this, which was probably making the depression and fatigue worse.
Over the 6 weeks of the course of hypnotherapy, she was able to change the things she could with her lifestyle. She recognised the issues influencing it and how she could change certain things or think about others differently.
Maureen then took a break and about 2 months. Later she resumed another 6 sessions saying they helped her clarify her mind and move her towards feeling happy again. During this second lot of sessions, she was able to sort out a lot of things cluttering up her house. Arranging trips to warmer climes as winter approached.
Session 1 – Review and learning what you can do to help.
Session 2 – 5 Stress reduction, seeing what the problems are and helping a client find solutions to those problems. Working towards the preferred future.
Session 6 – Review, self-hypnosis and future pacing.
See Fees for further details
If you are suffering from the symptoms of menopause then please contact me or text “hotflash” to 07508658934
Penny Ling is a widely experienced hypnotherapist who has worked with everyone from top executives to stroke victims since 2007. She has been editor of Hypnotherapy Today Magazine and is a supervisor and mentor for members of the AfSFH and NCH.
Read Penny’s inspiring story “How I beat all my phobias”, or find out more how hypnotherapy could help your problem by downloading “How Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with life”. Feel free to send Penny a message here.