Menopause is physiological changes certainly with few emotional disturbances. Menopause can be simply defined as the end of the last menstrual period. This natural transition generally occurs at the age of 45-55 years.
When the ovaries no longer respond to the hormones, they fail to release an egg each month and to produce the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. The fall in the levels of these hormones in the bloodstream gives rise to the symptoms of menopause.
Women experience the symptoms of the menopause for several years up to the menopause itself. This is called the ‘Climacteric’, or ‘Pre-Menopause’, and represents the gradual decline in the normal function of the ovaries. Menstrual periods become erratic both in spacing and amount. During those months or years leading up to menopause, woman experiences various symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Loss of breast fullness and
- Psychological symptoms like Depression, mood swings, tiredness or headaches are also quite common.
However Forgetfulness or irritability if present can be distressing not only to her but even to her family.
In Ayurveda, menopause is just dealt as a natural effect of aging and not considered as a disease or disorder. Moreover there are very few references that can be related to menopause or “Rajo Nivrutti” is said to have the predominance of vata dosha and the symptoms of menopause are quite similar to the symptoms seen when the Vata Dosha increases and upsets the normal balance of the body.
Menopausal symptoms like depression, anxiety, insomnia, osteoporosis, dry skin are closely related to increased vata. However the imbalance among other doshas also shows certain symptoms. Women with anger and hot flushes have excessive pitta. Listlessness, weight gain, slow metabolism and feelings of mental and physical heaviness are seen in excessive kapha conditions.
As said earlier, Fluctuating hormones especially, the reducing oestrogen level result in many unfavourable symptoms like irregular cycles sometimes with abnormally heavy bleeding hot flashes, dryness in vagina, loss of bladder strength, skin changes, insomnia, mood swings etc.
Not only that they also increases the risk of osteoporosis, heart diseases, high cholesterol, stroke, certain cancers during menopause.
Menopause – take it easy and make it easy
Nothing can be as effective as dietary and lifestyle modifications embraced at the right time to assist the changing physiology of your body for an easy menopause.
As Vata will be dominant, measures taken to reduce vata and bring back the doshic balance will prevent most of the premenopausal symptoms.
- Eating the right food is very important. Select a balanced as well as a nutritious diet.
- Stick to warm foods and drinks, maintain regular meal pattern and use spices such as fennel, ginger, cinnamon, fenugreek and cumin in food
- Include milk and milk products and add lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet to supplement calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid excessive intake of salt, chillies, spices, sour foods, and pickles.
- Decrease intake of caffeine and other stimulants, refined sugar, junk food, cold and carbonated drinks.
- Regular exercise, can improve your health and add years to your life. Exercise strengthens. your bones, increases well being and induces good sleep.
- Take regular oil massages to alleviate vata.
- Practice meditation and yoga to keep yourself calm.
- Watch your weight and lose weight if you think you are overweight.
- Quits smoking and cut down on alcohol as these can be harmful at this stage.
Ayurveda for Menopause
Mainly focused on regulating the hormones, bringing mental calmness and maintaining a normal digestion and other biological functions.
Ayurvedic Panchakarma procedures like vamana, Virechana and Basti for body cleansing along with other supporting therapies like Abhyanga, Swedana, Shirodhara, Patra Pinda Sweda, Udvartana and some specific treatments like Uttarbasti, Yoni Prakshalan & Pichu (Vaginal treatments) are adopted as per the need of each individual to treat and support the changes during menopause.
Herbs like Shatavari, Yastimadhu, Ashoka, Guggulu helps in healing as well as Rejuvenation.