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Feeling menopausal? Take a cold-water plunge

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Women are going for an outdoors swim in cold water to relieve their menopausal symptoms—and according to one survey, it works.

The women have said that the severity of typical symptoms such as hot flushes, anxiety, mood swings and brain fog has halved after a dip in freezing water.

Although the women reported immediate improvement in symptoms when they entered the water, those who were regular cold-water swimmers saw the greatest long-term benefit.

They are among a group of 1114 women who have been part of a women’s health survey carried out by researchers from University College London. Of these, 785 were going through the menopause—and 63 percent of them were cold-water swimming.  Around 47 percent of the swimmers said they felt less anxious after swimming, 35 percent reported fewer mood swings, and around 30 percent had fewer hot flushes.

Women described swimming as “an immediate stress/anxiety reliever” while one 57-year-old said: “Cold water is phenomenal.  It has saved my life.  In the water, I can do anything.  All symptoms, physical and mental, disappear and I feel like me at my best.”

Other benefits included being outside, improving mental health and exercising.

Researcher Joyce Harper said: “They felt that their symptoms were helped by the physical and mental effects of the cold water, which was more pronounced when it was colder.  How often they swam, how long for and what they wore were also important.  Those that swam for longer had more pronounced effects.”

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Post Reproductive Health, 2023; 29: 67-84; doi: 10.1177/20533691231166543
Article Topics: Menopause, Women's health
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