Article by Angela Atkinson
The Menopause: a hot topic.
The menopause: that period in a woman’s life when her periods stop and she’s no longer able to conceive without the appliance of medical science.
It’s a similar and familiar story for many women. The ovaries either fail, become damaged or are surgically removed with inevitable changes in hormone levels following. The consequences of these changes vary to a large extent from woman to woman.
The menopause then is a hot topic – in every sense of that phrase.
There’s a range of symptoms associated with the menopause. They range from a loss of libido – or an increased libido (a symptom yes but is it a problem?!) vaginal dryness, sleep problems, and anxiety.
But if there’s two things responsible for the most menopause misery then it’s hot flushes and night sweats. And they’re the focus of this case study.
Look into my eyes
Helen Breward is a clinical hypnotherapist practicing in Swindon and Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. Somewhat disappointingly staring into her eyes or following a swinging fob watch features nowhere in her work.
She describes her work with menopausal women as one that teaches ladies practical strategies to help them reduce the intensity of a hot flush. She says: ‘Most of my clients find they can reduce both the intensity and frequency of their hot flushes.
I help them to understand the trigger point for their symptoms and discuss with them how to change it.
Using relaxation and the power of the individual’s mind I can, in most cases, bring about changes to the client’s symptoms.’
Alison, a client of Helen’s, agreed to share her experiences of undergoing Helen’s techniques.
Alison is 48 years old. She has been in a menopausal state for about a year following a recent (ish) radical hysterectomy.
In the post-op period Alison underwent hormone replacement therapy (HRT) until deciding to go ‘cold turkey’ and stop using it. An action that unleashed a veritable fireball of hot flushes and night sweats. Experiencing 12-15 hot flushes during the day and 4-6 night sweats every night Alison’s menopause symptoms were at the extreme end of the scale and were, in her own words, ‘simply debilitating’.
Having put Evening Primrose Oil and a whole host of other herbal supplements through their paces and found them wanting Alison turned next to an immunologist. He studied her diet for possible influences on her symptoms and suggested changes. Alison followed this advice to no noticeable effect – though she did observe that becoming stressed and anxious increased her symptoms.
Alison met Helen at a business-networking group and heard that she wanted clients to trial her techniques on. So it was, in sheer desperation, that she threw herself into Helen’s trials.
Talking about her symptoms prior to working with Helen, Alison said:
‘You name it – I tried it. I even would lie on a cooling gel pad bought for the dog when she had surgery.
I simply wanted to claw my skin off. I was THAT hot and it would come from nowhere. One moment I was fine and the next so hot you could fry an egg on me.
And along with the hot flushes and night sweats there were mood swings to contend with.
It was like puberty all over again. Except that where puberty brings you into being a fertile young adult the menopause is doing the opposite. A reverse puberty if you like.
The whole thing was exhausting in every sense: mentally and literally with all the disturbed sleep.’
The sessions with Helen began with a long chat about possible triggers for the hot flushes. Alison kept a diary of what triggered what and this process that brought anxiety as a trigger to her attention. Ditto alcohol and hot drinks.
Following the diary keeping came techniques for managing the hot flushes as they arose. Alison learnt how, if she caught them early enough, to turn them off.
Helen gave Alison a hypnotherapy CD to listen to at bedtime. Containing subliminal techniques with a story woven through it Alison reported great benefit from it.
Alison further commented: ‘On a scale of 0-10 with 0 being no improvement and 10 being ‘fixed’ I’d say I’m on about 6.
I’ve had 6/7 sessions so far and it’s still work in progress. I see Helen every 3 to 4 weeks and use the CD in between them. I’m quietly confident we can improve this further. So overall I couldn’t be more delighted with the results.
To other women experiencing debilitating menopause symptoms I’d say this has to be worth a try. If you’re going through anything like what I was then you’ve simply got nothing to lose.’
NB: Helen Breward will be speaking at the Canadian Hypnotherapy Conference at the end of October 2016.
The conference is a gathering of over 200 hypnotherapists who meet to further each other’s professional development.
Helen says: ‘I’m honoured to be asked to present to my peers the work I’ve been doing with the menopause – hot flushes in particular.
It’s about getting out there the message that there is a choice. That women can get help, that they can take control.
The results my clients have reported to me have far exceeded what I could have hoped for.
The Baylor University in America also reported similar results in a 2012 clinical study.’
Helen can be contacted on: email@example.com