Menopause - what isn't talked about

Menopause has been featured in the media significantly more of late, which is refreshing and positive to see. Symptoms of menopause are highlighted, along with an increase in access to HRT for those who are able to and choose to take it.


There are said to be 54 symptoms of menopause and counting, including hot flushes, insomnia and anxiety to the lesser known symptoms like tinnitus, digestive issues and food intolerances.

Menopause Support Network offer a lot of information on its website. Dr Louise Newson, a menopause expert, has created an app called Balance that also contains a wealth of menopause content along with a symptom tracker (free of charge).

It is believed that around 75% of those going through perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause experience some symptoms to various degrees; from feeling uncomfortable to finding symptoms completely debilitating.

Symptoms can begin in perimenopause, up to ten years before going through menopause itself and can continue well into post-menopause years, too. An experienced gynaecologist told me that he still has patients in their eighties that he treats for menopause symptoms. The average age of menopause is 52, although this can vary greatly. Early menopause is before the age of 45 and premature menopause is before the age of 40.

Surgical menopause is where a hysterectomy, including ovary removal, is carried out before menopause has taken place. Chemical menopause, or medical menopause, is where hormone-blocking medications are given to manage or prevent the reoccurrence of certain cancers - including breast cancer.

Menopause itself is 12 months and one day after the last period. Menopause lasts for one day as after this is classed as post-menopause. In many cases, symptoms don’t magically disappear once post-menopause.

Menopause is a time of change, a natural transition...

The brain rewires itself in menopause

Menopause is a time of change, a natural transition and it is believed that the brain rewires itself over a number of years during this stage, as it does in puberty to prepare us for adulthood. In menopause, the brain rewires itself for us to face the remaining third (or more) of our lives where we will inevitability age and can no longer conceive children. Teenagers going through the process of puberty, where the brain rewires itself, can find it very difficult and some experience mental health issues that they need support with.

As the brain rewires itself during menopause, it is inevitable that times of difficulty and mental health issues will be experienced by some. The suicide rates are highest in women who are of perimenopause/menopause age. It is important that this is talked about and support is offered. Fortunately, this is beginning to happen.

Dr Christine Northrup explains on her website how years of research show that the brain is rewired during menopause. A "circuitry update", as she calls it. This allows women to shift from their role as caretakers in the family to focus on themselves and their own interests. This can be liberating or bewildering, as the emptiness when adult children leave the nest can be very unsettling.

What isn’t talked about?

With the upsurge in menopause as a hot topic in the media recently, we hear from celebrities who share their experiences of being hit hard by menopausal symptoms and information from medical experts on menopause. What isn’t talked about so much, however, are some of the feelings and experiences faced during menopause and at times of significant change in our lives, past unresolved issues, or issues we had thought we had resolved, can raise themselves again for our attention.

Some women can encounter mourning at the loss of not being able to have another baby, even if their family is complete, they never wanted children or they really don’t want another baby. There can be a real sense of loss of having the capacity to conceive taken away from you, even if you don’t want to conceive. This isn’t often discussed and the feeling of loss can be very painful and even make a woman question herself in the sense of loss of womanhood. One client described herself as feeling invisible now post-menopause and a loss of her sense of desirability to others now she is no longer able to conceive.

In contradiction to this, women can also feel as if their interest in babies and children has just switched off in a way that surprises them because they were always maternal and broody. They may even feel intolerant towards children, the noise, the bustle around them and prefer quieter adult-only places. A client explained how she felt she had turned into a "horrible person" because she had always loved babies and children but could no longer stand to be around them for long since menopause, she would never wish harm on any child but wanted to be quiet and pursue her own interests now.

Change itself can be very daunting and the feelings around the change menopause brings are not always talked about openly. It is a time of change – a transition into the latter stage of our lives towards ageing (when we experience average-age menopause).

The reality is our bodies age, energy decreases over time and we need to transition from taking care of our families and everyone else around us into our elder years where we need to take care of ourselves. This often happens at a time in our lives when we may have adult children still living with us and ageing parents who need an increasing amount of our support and responsibility – the sandwich generation with stress and responsibility coming from both sides of the generations and us stuck in the middle. This in itself can be really demanding without the added exhausting symptoms of menopause and the emotions it raises within us.

We need to start to put ourselves first and to take care of ourselves as we age and change. This can produce guilt because we are so used to the responsibility of motherhood if we have had children. The guilt, the sense of responsibility for both our adult children and our parents, the symptoms, emotions and changes that menopause brings can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.

One client shared that she was worried she was losing her mind and going crazy. The more we talk openly about this the better as it helps to reassure others that they are not alone and help is available either from their GP or a qualified therapist.

A sense of loss of identity and not recognising or knowing who you are any longer is another often unspoken element of menopause that can be faced. This can feel really alarming and can take some time to work through.

How hypnotherapy can help

Hypnotherapy can help with symptoms of menopause such as easing anxiety, reducing insomnia and calming hot flushes. Studies have been carried out evidencing the positive results of using hypnotherapy to help to reduce a number of symptoms.

Hypnotherapy can also really help with past unresolved issues that raise themselves during this time of change, as well as the feelings of loss, change, and the sense of questioning their identity that can be experienced during menopause. As hypnotherapy involves the use of therapeutic techniques with hypnosis where it is believed that the subconscious mind is directly engaged, it can be of enormous benefit to those needing support with some of the thoughts and emotional issues that menopause brings.
After experiencing menopause myself and working with numerous clients with a range of menopause issues and symptoms, I know that it is a personal experience with common symptoms encountered. A personalised approach is taken to support the client through menopause and beyond.
If you are experiencing menopause symptoms or finding the transition difficult and would like to try hypnotherapy please reach out to me or another qualified hypnotherapist.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire, WV5
Written by Laura Hawkins, Dip. Hyp., Adv.DPLT, DPLT, GQHP, B.Ed. Hons
Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire, WV5

Laura Hawkins - hypnotherapist, regression therapist and advanced past life regression therapist.
Please see my Hypnotherapy Directory profile for further information

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