Happy Sunday folks!!
Hope you have all been well this week?
So, once again it’s the DSJ Hypnotherapy A-Z weekly blog time and this week we are at D. Now, to be honest there are a plethora of perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms that start with D from things drying up…. Dry eyes, dry hair, dry nails and yep……even dry vaginas! Of course, there is as well the big nasty D of Depression but is that any kind of surprise when you are suffering those kinds of symptoms!
The D I am going to focus on today is actually DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS, as this is one that is not always immediately identified as a meno’ symptom.
Unfortunately, there are many forms of digestive problems which can be experienced in peri menopause and menopause. These can include constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and heartburn. Now although some people may suffer with these symptoms for other reasons, it has been identified that as menopause approaches, the hormonal changes that occur with the reduction of progesterone and oestrogen can be a contributing factor.
Now, if you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I always refer to the wonders of the Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy process and how it can work to reduce symptoms so I bet your asking now, ‘how on earth can it help with this?’ Well, believe it or not, it can!
So, one of the main reasons for the digestive issues arising is due to the reduction in oestrogen which results in levels of cortisol (known as the ‘stress hormone’) in the body rising, which in turn, can play havoc with levels of blood sugar and cause raised blood pressure levels. Without the oestrogen present, cortisol is not being kept in check.
In addition, adrenalin can easily be triggered in the body when the calming influence of oestrogen is missing and when this happens we find ourselves in an artificial ‘fight or flight’ situation that usually occurs when we are faced with some kind of threat.
Now this process is a good thing normally as it is what keeps us vigilant enough to survive and stay alive. This original, primitive part of the brain that controls this process is what allowed our ancestors to survive the harsh ravages of the pre-historic environment. Sadly, today it tends to be triggered by things such as a gas bill that’s higher than we expected, that important work meeting or even just a snotty email landing in our inbox. The trouble is as well, is that the primitive brain doesn’t understand the difference between imagination and reality, so even thinking about those things can set it off!!
Unfortunately, when this occurs it switches digestive function off, and when the digestive system is not working at its optimum level, a range of digestive problems can arise. Gas can build up, causing bloating; food can pass through without being fully broken down, causing constipation; acid can break down the mucous lining of the stomach wall, causing abdominal pain or indigestion. In addition, if we think about the need to ‘flight’ our way out of a woolly Mammoth’s path we need to be as light on our feet as possible so sometimes total evacuation of the bowel is needed….yeah…we’re getting rid of the load in one unpleasant motion!
So, you may be asking the question again….’SO HOW CAN HYPNOTHERAPY HELP’?
Well, the problem with those reducing hormones placing us into that fight or flight state starts a vicious and unpleasant cycle. As you can imagine, these symptoms and that status of being ‘primed and ready for action’, full of adrenaline and cortisol, does nothing for our stress levels. All fight or flight responses are based on anger, anxiety, or depression and all of our negative and emotional responses are happily dropping into our metaphorical stress bucket.
Now, when that stress bucket becomes full and starts to overflow, guess what… yep, we can find ourselves being pushed, once again into our primitive brain, the fight or flight cycle kicks off and oh……guess what, more adrenaline, more cortisol and yep more stress……ahhh……where will this end???
This cycle is what is exacerbating these symptoms, making them worse and pushing your stress levels higher and higher. This can also then have a knock-on effect to things like your sleep patterns, which can lead to more brain fog, which can lead to more anxiety, which can lead to a lack of confidence (see what I did there……only went and linked my other blogs!! 😊)
Ok, I am still aware I haven’t answered the Hypno’ question but I’m getting there! So, let me take you back to the stress bucket, now……there is a way that we process and empty all of those negative, emotional responses and that occurs during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep. You may experience this as dreaming; however, this only happens for 20% of our nightly sleep pattern and we can find ourselves waking suddenly at 2-3am if that stress bucket is overflowing, simply because the REM process cannot do anymore!
When we use Hypnotherapy trance during our sessions, the specifically designed language patterns are replicating the REM process, thus allowing us to work on emptying that bucket. The emotional responses are pulled through from our subconscious mind (primitive) into our conscious mind (intellectual) and once here it is possible to find a rational solution. Brain scans show that the activity that takes place during hypnotherapy is exactly the same, and therefore additional bucket emptying is taking place. As a result, you’re left feeling calmer, and symptoms (although they still may be present to a degree) become manageable because they are not being ignited with all of that extra negative fuel.
When we team the hypnotherapy with our Solution Focused Psychotherapy work, we not only manage to get you into that intellectual brain, but we work on keeping you there so that nasty, negative cycle is less and less likely to occur.
I look forward to telling you more about the Psychotherapy work in my upcoming blogs!