Before ploughing right on with discussing options and treatment for menopause, let us pause to take note of the fact that menopause is a perfectly natural stage; that each woman reaches in her life.
While it is a process that troubles some women far more than others, it is important not to view it as a problem or an ‘end’ to a youthful stage in life. Rather look upon menopause as a new liberating beginning in life, and then opt for appropriate treatment for menopause if at all required.
Unfortunately a menopause can bring with it a lot of baggage – women are sociologically and psychologically conditioned to view menopause as a problematic phase of life that is the end of youth and good health so that women tend to brace themselves for problems.
In a society obsessed with youth and good looks this can be a frightening stage for women, causing them to opt for treatment for menopause when a number of the problems faced could have a psychological basis.
Clinicians examined the efficacy of cognitive behavior therapy as treatment for menopause in a study. In this study, the therapy was used to examine the connection between feelings, thoughts and behavior – women were taught how to modify their behavior in a way that could reduce the severity of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
In this treatment for menopause the women were made aware of how stress and anxiety, consumption of certain foods and a sedentary lifestyle could contribute to hot flashes. They were also acquainted with the fact that they tended to make negative statements about their own selves when confronted with a hot flash, which behavior tended to exacerbate stress levels and hence contributed to hot flash severity.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment for menopause can be effective since it can help women identify and minimize hot flash triggers offering them a chance to modify those behaviors that contributed to the problem. This also worked by helping the women replace negative thoughts (“why me” or “how much more of this do I have to take”) with more positive ones (“this is a temporary phase of life”).
Further CBT can prove to be an effective treatment for menopause since it can help to improve quality of life, and feelings towards this phase of life. The study was able to demonstrate that it is possible to use CBT or a version of it that has been modified for treatment for menopause, to reduce menopausal symptoms – hot flashes were seen to reduce in severity and number, symptoms such as depression and anxiety were seen to be controlled better, and there were significant improvements in the quality of life. The positive impact of this treatment for menopause was also seen 6 months later.
While this is not an effective solution for everyone, and for many women, pharmacological interventions may in fact be indicated as a treatment for menopause; many women can in fact benefit from CBT. So before fixing on a treatment option, women should consider the necessity, safety, efficacy and suitability of the treatment.