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Menopause Syndrome - How Efficient Is Ayurveda In It?

Menopause is the stage in a woman s life when the menstrual cycle stops. When a woman is not menstruating for twelve consecutive months, then she has entered into the phase of menopause. Menses is called as Raja in Ayurveda. For this reason, the stoppage of the menses flow permanently, i.e. menopause is called as Raja Nivrutti, which literally means retirement of menses. According to Ayurveda, this is not a disease; rather it is a natural process in a woman s life that occurs at the age of 45-55 years. With aging, out of three Doshas, Vata dosh increases significantly with considerable decline in pitta and kapha dosha, so menopausal symptoms occurring due to the vitiation of mainly Vata dosha. Every woman is born with definite number of oocytes (ovarian reserve). The natural depletion of the reserve and aging of ovaries cause decrease in feminine hormones and hence menopause occurs. Premature ovarian Failure: Premature ovarian failure (POF) is the cessation of the ovarian function before the age of 40 year. It is confirmed by high blood levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Causes of premature ovarian failure Unknown cause Autoimmune disorders, Thyroid disease Women who have a functional disorder affecting the reproductive system (e.g., endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, cancer of the reproductive organs) can go into menopause at a younger age. Cigarette smoking Higher body mass index Racial and ethnic factors Illnesses Surgical Menopause Stoppage of menses as a result of removal of the ovaries is called "surgical menopause". Symptoms of Menopausal Syndrome Gynaecological Mood swings Dry skin or mucous membranes (including the vagina) Scanty bleeding during perimenopause Heavy bleeding during perimenopause Irregular bleeding Vaginal dryness Painful Intercourse Physical Constipation or irritable bowel Insomnia Bone loss (Osteoporosis) Hot flashes High blood pressure and heart disease Weight gain Overweight Fluid retention, edema High cholesterol or triglycerides lack of energy, joint soreness stiffness back pain breast pain heart palpitations headache dizziness dry itchy skin urinary incontinence, increased urgency heavy night sweats Psychological Irritability Anxiety. worry, fear Reduced libido Anger, irritation, jealousy, criticism, competitiveness Depression, sadness, greed Decreased concentration due to dullness An Ayurvedic approach for managing Menopause: Ayurvedic Management consist of mainly Rasayana (rejuvenation) therapy, Specific dietary guidelines, Lifestyle modification, Medicinal supplements, Panchakarma (detoxification) and Yoga.

Rasayana (rejuvenation) therapy: It is an Important therapy for this period which leads to an overall improvement in the formation and maintenance of the living tissues and helps in the prevention of aging, improving resistance against diseases, bodily strength and mental health. It can be done in 4 ways : Achar rasayan (lifestyle modification) Ahar Rasayan (Diet Modification) Dravya Rasayan (Medicine) Panchakarma. Lifestyle modification (Achar Rasayana): According to Ayurveda, by following Dinacharya, Ritucharya and Ratricharya aging process can be delayed and symptoms related to menopause can be minimized. Exercise should be inevitable part of lifestyle.

Yoga and Pranayama for specific condition like backache/ knee pain/ stress/ obesity should be learned from an experienced teacher and should be followed REGULARLY. Dietary Guidelines: Diet can be a crucial tool in menopause management. If you are prone to Pitta-based problems, such as hot flashes or excessive irritability, follow a Pitta-pacifying diet: avoid foods that are spicy, such as chilies, black mustard seed. Salty foods and sour foods such as ketchup,chips etc.

Favor foods that are bitter, astringent and sweet, as these are cooling to Pitta dosha. Bitter and astringent foods include most vegetables. Sweet foods include rice, milk and Ghee pacify Pitta dosha. Cook with Pitta-reducing spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, and small amounts of cumin seed.

If you experience Vata-related symptoms of menopause such as bloating or vaginal dryness, then eat foods that are sweet, sour and salty as this balances Vata dosha. Avoid Processed sweet food as cakes Pastries, tetrapack juices and processed salty food like chips and biscuits Apana Vata, which governs the genitourinary tract, elimination, and menstruation, is a key area to attend to when preparing for menopause. Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day. For both Pitta and Vata imbalances Milk and Ghee plays important role.

It is also important to keep your digestion strong and free of ama(Prduct of indigestion). Avoid eating foods that are packaged, processed, frozen, canned or left over. Eat organic foods that are cooked fresh. Your diet should consist of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes Avoid heavy foods such as meat, cheese and ice cream and curd especially at night.

Medicinal Supplements: Shatavari, Ashwagandha, Chandrashur, Shankhkpushpi, Bala, Ardrak, Shatapushpa , Black grams etc can be taken under proper guidance Panchkarma Therapies: Basti: As menopausal period is under influence of Vata dosha and Mainly Apan Vayu, Basti is the best treatment for vitiated Apan vayu and eventually for disturbed menstrual cycle or heavy bleeding. Depending upon body constitution and severity of symptom Vaidya can advise Basti treatment. Basti can also be helpful in the gynecological conditions like painful menses and heavy bleeding. Intrauterine instillation (Uttarbasti) of sterile medicine (oil or Ghee) is helpful in heavy bleeding.

Panchtikta KshirBasti is also helpful in the condition of osteoporosis. Local Treatments Like Janubasti, Manyabasti and Katibasti (Holding Oil over Knee, neck and back respectively) for Knee, neck and back pain are also helpful. Recurrent vaginitis, dryness or inflammatory conditions in Pap s smear can be treated by local irrigation of lukewarm herbal decoctions (Yoni Prakshalan) and keeping oil soaked tampoon in vagina is also helpful in the conditions of vaginal dryness, cervicitis and first degree uterine prolapse. Shirodhara: Shirodhara is continuous pouring of lukewarm oil or decoction or milk or buttermilk on forehead (in between both eyebrows).

Medicine to be used can be decided upon the symptoms. This procedure helps to reduce stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, hypertension, hair problems etc. It relaxes body and mind as well. Abhyang: Abhyang and Swedan (whole body massage and steam) are one of the traditional measures to relieve stress. This procedure helps to get rid of vitiated vata and hence we get pain relief and relaxation. According to Ayurveda we should practice Abhyang routinely on head, ear and foot/sole. Oletion by medicinal leaves pack (Patra Pind Swedan) is also helpful in knee/back/neck pain.
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