When women reach menopause they experience several changes. In this article, Dr. Minakshi Sharma tells us more about this phase in a women’s life and how one can enjoy this transition phase.
In ancient Ayurvedic classics, menopause is a condition termed as “Rajoni vrutti” which means the end of ‘Artava Pravritti’ or cessation of menstruation. According to Ayurveda, menopause is the result of transition from the Pitta phase to Vata phase of a women’s life. If a woman experiences Pitta or Vata imbalance before menopause then things may get worse when she reaches menopause.
The word ‘Menopause’ comes from the Greek word ‘Menos’ (month) & ‘Pausis’ (cessation). This is a natural phenomenon that occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55 years.
Menopause means permanent cessation of menstruation and the end of reproductive life due to the loss of ovarian follicular activity. Needless to say, this phase also marks the end of the natural fertility in a woman.
In Ayurveda, menopausal symptoms are regarded as an “imbalance of the Doshas” (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), which occur as a natural and gradual consequence of aging. Therefore, the main symptoms that occur while transitioning to menopause depends greatly on the body type of the individual and to that end, the balance of the Tridoshas in the body. Note that no person belongs to a single body type in absolute, but is a combination of the three Doshas in varying proportions.
Menopausal symptoms of a Vata dominant
- Dryness of vagina
- Difficulty in getting continuous sleep
- Mild to variable hot flushes
- Anxiety, panic, nervousness and mood swings
- Dry skin
- Palpitations, bloating and constipation
Menopausal symptoms of a Pitta dominant
- Anger and irritableness
- Excess hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Extremely heavy periods with burning sensation
- Skin rashes and associated complaints such as UTI (urinary tract infection)
Menopausal symptoms of a Kapha dominant
- Weight gain, heaviness and lethargy
- Depression and lack of motivation
- Hormonal changes such as thyroid malfunction
- Fibrocystic changes in uterus or in the breast
- Excessive fluid retention
Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle and herbs
- For Vata Dominant
Diet: Increase the use of warm foods, drinks and regular meals. Decrease caffeine, other stimulants, refined sugar, cold drinks and raw salads.
Lifestyle: Go to bed early, massage body and head using Sesame oil, meditate, do yoga and other regular exercises like walking.
Herbs: Ashwagandha, Arjuna, Cardamom, Garlic, Guggul, and Shatavari
- For Pitta Dominant
Diet: Have more cooling foods, increase water intake and other sweet juicy fruits like grapes, pears, plums, mango, melons, apples, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber and organic foods.
Lifestyle: Massage body and head using coconut and chandan oil.
Herbs: Aloe Vera, Arjuna, Amla, Shatavari, Sandalwood and other spices like cumin, cardamom and fennel.
- For Kapha Dominant
Diet: Go for light, dry and warm foods.Eat more fruits, whole grains, legumes and vegetables. Use spices such as black pepper, turmeric and ginger.
Lifestyle: Get up early. Mustard oil and sesame oil are often recommended for body and head massage.
Herbs: Cinnamon, Guggul, Mustard, Haritki, Nagarmotha.
General symptoms of menopause include
- Hot flushes
- Night sweats
- Trouble sleeping/Insomnia
- Joints pain
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swing
- Loss of libido
- Impaired memory
- Urinary incontinence
More severe symptoms such as frequent hot flashes, continual sleep disturbance, and moderate to severe mood swings, are signs of deep imbalances. Ayurveda describes that these stubborn symptoms are usually due to the buildup of wastes and toxins, referred to as “Aama”, in the body’s tissues. In such a case, a traditional Ayurvedic detoxification programme like “Panchkarma” maybe recommended to clear the body’s channels and gain relief.
Yoga Therapy: Current evidence indicates that women benefit from yoga therapy during menopausal transition in terms of decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and loss of bone mineral density as well as improved psychological well-being, sleep patterns and emotional modulation.
Exercise: Helps in keeping bone and cartilage limb strong. Exercise increases the heart and respiratory rate, thereby reduces the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular disease. Exercise help in the prevention of arthritis and brisk walk is considered a very good exercise for women in post-menopausal phase.
In winter, take half a teaspoon of methidana powder.
In summer, soak one teaspoon of methidana at night and drink the same water in the morning on an empty stomach and then chew the seeds.
Take half a teaspoonful of flax seeds.
Drink Aloe Vera gel with water.
Drink coconut water.
Menopause is not a disease, it is just a natural biological process.
Dr. Minakshi Sharma
A practicing Ayurveda physician for the past 29 years. She is also a streeroga specialist. She runs her own Ayurveda firm – Global Herbals.