How A Cold Splash Helps Reduce Stress & Post-Menopausal Effects
A cold splash in the morning and all the fatigue goes away. Isn’t it? Feeling sleepy? Just a cold splash, and boom, it’s all normal. But there’s much more to a cold splash than this. According to a group of ladies who plunged into water as cold as 6 degree Celsius in Gower in the UK, plunging into cold water helps dampen the effects of menopause. Many of them also reported improvements in their mental health.
Alison Owen, 49, one of the women who plunged into the cold water, told BBC, “Although it takes around 91 seconds to make your body adjust in the ice cold water, once it does, results are good. At the beginning, it is an extraordinary thrill and excitement. I could feel the kid in me being revived. That helped in improving in mental health too.”
What Is Menopause?
“The period in a woman’s life when her menstruation cycle stops and she is no longer able to conceive a baby, marks the Menopause. Menopause normally occurs during the fourth or fifth decade of a woman’s life, but may vary from woman to woman,” says Nirmala Gupta, a gynaecologist and obstetrician. In other words, menopause also marks the phase when ovaries become inactive, i.e. they stop producing hormones and hence hinders a woman’s ability to conceive a baby. Menopause does come with side effects too. Some of them are:
- Hot Flashes, which means unexpected feeling of heat all over the body, accompanied by sweating, is a very common effect observed in post-menopausal women. “I experience sweating even at cold weather frequently and wasn’t sure as to why this is happening. On approaching the doctor, I found out it’s because of menopause,” says Kavita Rastogi, a 49-year-old housewife.
- Mood Swings accompanied by irritability, are one of the results of changed hormonal concentrations.”Not only post menopause, but as I was reaching closer to menopause, I experienced sudden mood swings, was frequently irritated over petty issues,” says Neelam Srivastava, a 46-year-old housewife.
- Weight Gain is one of the most common effects of menopause. The hormonal change causes weight gain around the abdomen.
- As many as 61 per cent of post-menopausal women report insomnia. Snoring is also found to develop with pauses or gasps which indicates an even serious sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea (OSA). “Sweating at night made me feel uncomfortable which gradually resulted in insomnia,” adds Kavita.
- Estrogen is one of the hormones that affects memory, both pre and post-menopause. A change in estrogen concentration results in short-term memory issues. “Irritability came in association with short-term memory issues. I started forgetting things I did just 10 or 15 minutes before,” adds Neelam.
- A woman’s sex life might also be affected with decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness.
Relation Between Stress, Menopause And Cold Water
“During menopause, due to decrease in estrogen levels, a woman experiences hot flushes and dryness of skin. It is advisable to drink lots of water. Plus usage of cold water, even while bathing, adds to the advantage. Cold water is naturally known to relieve stress and depression,” says Dr Renu Singh, a Kanpur-based gynaecologist and obstetrician.
“Actually what happens is, that during menopause, the change in levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect the neural and hormonal systems which influence thirst and blood pressure. Drinking lots of water, thereby helps you overcome the negative effects caused due to dehydration as a result of menopause,” she adds.
“I am going through the menopause, and since I’ve started swimming in cold water, the sweats and night sweats don’t feel that bad. Moreover, I suffered with anxiety, but after this, the anxiety attacks don’t feel that bad either,” swimmer Patricia Woodhouse, 53, told BBC.
“There are plenty of studies involved in gauging the effects of cold water swimming but there are no definitive studies. Swimming, as in the case of Alison, is linked with exercise and when done in groups, it includes socializing also, both of which have been known to give a positive impact on mental health. We all do get a shock as we enter cold water, some even get a shivering in the entire body, which, in turn regulates blood as well. Again, good for mental health,” says Prof Mike Tipton, an expert in cold water swimming at the University of Portsmouth.
Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv