Photo by BakiBG/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by BakiBG/iStock / Getty Images

Menopause

 

 

While menopause is a normal life stage for women, symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats can be distressing, and tend to be more severe following breast cancer treatment sometimes having a negative impact on emotional wellbeing and quality of life[1]. Approximately 50% of women seek help for menopausal symptoms[2] and research shows that many express a preference for non-hormonal treatments, particularly if this is following breast cancer treatment. [3] 

It is with this in mind that a team including myself developed cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) group and self-help interventions for well women[4] and breast cancer patients[5] to help develop coping strategies to reduce the negative impact of these symptoms. These interventions were evaluated in 2 randomised control trials, and found that women completing the CBT reported reduced interference with daily life as well as additional benefits to mood, sleep, and general quality of life. 

CBT is therefore an evidenced based intervention recommended as part of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence guidelines for Menopause and offers an alternative to women wishing to avoid medical treatments.

As CBT Lead on the trials, I can offer individualised or group CBT sessions as well as training workshops for health professionals and organisations wishing to understand more about a bio-psycho-social approach to menopause.

I have recently completed training a first cohort of facilitators in the intervention in conjunction with the British Menopause Society. Attendees ranged from GPs, Gynaecologists, Nurse Specialists, Psychologists, and Occupational Health Consultants. A further training workshop is planned again in 2019, again in conjunction with the British Menopause Society.

 For further information, please contact me via the contact page.

[1] Ayers, B., & Hunter, M. S. (2013). Health-related quality of life of women with menopausal hot flushes and night sweats. Climacteric, 16(2), 235-239.
[2] Hunter, M., & Rendall, M. (2007). Bio-psycho-socio-cultural perspectives on menopause. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 21(2), 261-274.
[3] Hunter, M. S., Grunfeld, E. A., Mittal, S., Sikka, P., Ramirez, A. J., Fentiman, I., & Hamed, H. (2004). Menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer: prevalence and treatment preferences. Psycho‐Oncology, 13(11), 769-778.
[4] Ayers, B., Smith, M., Hellier, J., Mann, E., & Hunter, M. S. (2012). Effectiveness of group and self-help cognitive behavior therapy in reducing problematic menopausal hot flushes and night sweats (MENOS 2): a randomized controlled trial. Menopause, 19(7), 749-759.
[5] Mann, E., Smith, M., Hellier, J., & Hunter, M. S. (2011). A randomised controlled trial of a cognitive behavioural intervention for women who have menopausal symptoms following breast cancer treatment (MENOS 1): trial protocol. BMC cancer, 11(1), 44.