In certain ways, women don’t have it so easy physically. During their decades of fertility, there are often cramps, stomachaches, mood swings, and more women’s health issues that plague many of the fairer sex. When that finally comes to an end, a whole new set of problems often arises during both the menopausal and postmenopausal years. In fact, these issues can be significant enough that they cause a decrease in a woman’s libido and the pleasure she gets from having sex. Now, however, research has discovered a drug-free way to reduce some of the symptoms of menopause and improve the sex lives of these postmenopausal women significantly: hypnotic relaxation therapy.
The study, which took place at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, found that sessions of hypnotic relaxation therapy were quite effective at improving the sexual health of postmenopausal women who were experiencing hot flashes and discomfort during intimacy.1 “Sexual Health for Postmenopausal Women Improved by Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy.” Science Daily. 15 August 2013. Accessed 22 August 2013. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172342.htm The participants were 187 postmenopausal women who were randomly divided into two groups. One group was provided hypnotic relaxation therapy sessions, while the other spent their time in counseling sessions. The women in the hypnotic relaxation therapy group had hypnotic induction, then were provided with suggestive thoughts and mental imagery to promote feelings of relaxation and coolness. The second group participated in talk therapy with a counselor focused on their menopausal and sexual issues. Both groups received their treatment once a week for a five-week period with trained therapists.
All of the subjects were surveyed just before the research began, immediately after it ended, and once more 12 weeks later. Part of this included a self-assessment as to the severity of their hot flashes and the impact they have on their sex lives. After the experiment had ended, the women who had undergone hypnotic relaxation therapy rated their sexual satisfaction and pleasure as significantly higher and reported a decrease in pain compared to the women who had only received counseling. The benefits lasted through the follow-up 12 weeks afterward.
Common symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, weight gain, sleep disturbances, night sweats, and vaginal dryness and pain. These often begin to appear as a woman enters menopause and may continue for years due to lower estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels produced by the ovaries. These bodily changes can trigger fatigue as well as feelings of anxiety and/or depression in some women. Sex can become problematic because, in addition to the vaginal dryness or discomfort that some women go through, a partner’s body heat when they are physically close together can initiate a hot flash. Not only is that enough to kill the mood while a couple is in the moment, but for some women who experience these symptoms regularly, it turns them off of sex and any form of intimacy.
Until the early 2000s, the main medical response to postmenopausal sexual health problems was to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medication. These synthetic estrogen and progesterone hormones might provide some symptom relief, but they also can raise your risk of developing heart disease and breast cancer or having a stroke.2 “Hormone Replacement Therapy.” Medline Plus. 20 August 2013. Accessed 23 August 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hormonereplacementtherapy.html In fact, numerous studies determined HRT was dangerous enough that many doctors have stopped prescribing it. However, as with all scientific studies, there are contradictions and some physicians still point to that minority of newer research that has found HRT to be perfectly safe, confer protection from some diseases, and well worth any risks. So even with an abundance of information on the risks and potential complications of HRT use, there are still some physicians who insist it is the best form of treatment for their postmenopausal patients. Those women should look into the information themselves and consider changing physicians to avoid HRT and putting their health at risk.
That’s why a natural method of getting menopause symptoms under control and helping women feel comfortable with intimacy once again would be very welcome to many older women and their partners. Many mental health articles will tell you hypnotic relaxation therapy is considered safe and effective for the relief of a variety of complaints when conducted by a trained practitioner.3 Vickers, Andrew; et al. “Hypnosis and relaxation therapies.” Western Journal of Medicine. October 2001. Accessed 23 August 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071579 You can find a licensed therapist through a professional organization such as the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis or the Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis. Then, once you get started, your therapist will teach you methods for continuing the practice at home to maximize your success. You also might want to check out how you can naturally rebalance your testosterone levels, as that has a huge effect on your ability to enjoy intimacy.
|↑1||“Sexual Health for Postmenopausal Women Improved by Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy.” Science Daily. 15 August 2013. Accessed 22 August 2013. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815172342.htm|
|↑2||“Hormone Replacement Therapy.” Medline Plus. 20 August 2013. Accessed 23 August 2013. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hormonereplacementtherapy.html|
|↑3||Vickers, Andrew; et al. “Hypnosis and relaxation therapies.” Western Journal of Medicine. October 2001. Accessed 23 August 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071579|