Cold Water Swimming May Improve Menopause Symptoms

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New research published in Post Reproductive Health reveals that menopausal women who engage in cold water swimming report substantial improvements in both physical and mental symptoms. The survey study highlights notable alleviation in symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, and hot flushes.

The survey, conducted by researchers from University College London, involved 1,114 women, 785 of whom were experiencing menopause. The results revealed that a significant portion of menopausal women experience improvements in their well-being due to cold water swimming, with 46.9 percent observing reduced anxiety, 34.5 percent experiencing fewer mood swings, 31.1 percent noting an uplift in general mood, and 30.3 percent seeing a decrease in hot flushes.

"Cold water has previously been found to improve mood and reduce stress in outdoor swimmers, and ice baths have long been used to aid athletes' muscle repair and recovery,” said Joyce Harper, PhD, professor at the UCL EGA Institute for Women's Health. "Our study supports these claims. Meanwhile, the anecdotal evidence also highlights how the activity can be used by women to alleviate physical symptoms, such as hot flushes, aches, and pains."

However, the study acknowledged the inherent risks of cold water swimming, such as hypothermia, cold water shock, and water pollution concerns, emphasizing the need for further research into the optimal conditions for symptom relief.

Despite potential biases in the survey methodology, Dr. Harper said the findings offer promising insights into alternative menopausal symptom management that can benefit not only physical health but also mental and social wellbeing.

“The great thing about cold water swimming is it gets people exercising in nature, and often with friends, which can build a great community,” she concluded.