Hot flashes and night sweats, or vasomotor instability symptoms, are prevalent and often disruptive experiences for women going through menopause. These symptoms stem from the constriction or dilation of blood vessels, and can considerably hamper quality of life.
The hypothalamus, responsible for body temperature regulation, is stimulated by estrogen – a sex hormone predominantly produced by the ovaries in women. Estrogen also governs the menstrual cycle and the maturation of the reproductive system. During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen production diminishes, potentially leading to hypothalamic dysfunction and difficulties in body temperature regulation, thereby causing hot flashes.
Sleep disturbances are another serious concern, with about 44% of women experiencing severe night sweats that disrupt their sleep. In the face of falling estrogen levels, the brain might also struggle to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, leading to insomnia, a reported issue for 66% of women at the onset of menopause.
Other menopausal symptoms like mood swings, movement disorders, heart palpitations, headaches, chronic pain, and sleep apnea can further compound sleep problems. Insomnia, being a common symptom of menopause, and lack of restorative sleep can destabilize mental equilibrium leading to mood swings. Stress during menopause can exacerbate these symptoms by causing rapid breathing and reducing CO2 levels, giving rise to an array of unpleasant symptoms.
Awareness of your breathing habits – be it during the day or while asleep – can be pivotal. Do you breathe quickly or slowly? Do you engage your upper chest or abdomen? Is your breathing noisy or silent? Do you breathe through your mouth or nose? Do you sigh or snore frequently?
While breathing is an automatic process, bad breathing habits and overbreathing can be modified. Menopause, a period of profound transition and transformation, is a fact of life for anyone with ovaries. The choices women make during this time can profoundly shape their future health.
Harnessing customized Buteyko breathing techniques and sleep coaching could potentially help you navigate this significant phase of change more effectively. Enhancing control over your body during this transformative period can lead to improved health outcomes and a better quality of life.
If you are interested to see how Happy Myo can help you and your family, please feel free to check out all of our educational resources. Are you ready to start your journey towards improved health and breathing? Please visit our contact page to set up an introductory call.