A brief understanding
Menopause is a significant transition phase in the life of a woman. It can be described as the time when there has been no menses for a consecutive period of twelve months and no specific reason can be attributed to it.
Just like the onset of menstrual cycle, menopause also causes a lot of hormonal changes in a woman’s body. It often entails discomfort, pain, mental stress, hot and cold flashes, vaginal dryness and pain.
The ovaries present in a woman’s body produces an egg every month along with two important hormones called oestrogen and progesterone. They collectively manage the menstruation and ovulation. Menopause is the time when the ovaries stop releasing an egg every month and stops menstruation.
Every lady who is expecting menopause hopes to have a smooth transition. To achieve this, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, balanced sociological and physiological ambience to minimize the expected stress.
Average age for menopause is between 45 to 50 though in some cases it may occur earlier around late 30’s to early 40’s. Not always, but it is often seen that women follow their mother’s trend of menopause and its timing.
Early menopause could happen in some of the following cases -
- Genetic disorder
- Autoimmune disorders
- Medical procedures
- Premature ovarian failure
The process of menopause is gradual and can be classified into three stages-
This begins several years before menopause, when ovaries gradually reduce the production of oestrogen. In this stage hot flushes, irritation, stress, hair loss etc may happen.
When it’s been a year since the last menstrual cycle. This is the stage when ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and make very little oestrogen.
The years after menopause. During this stage, menopause symptoms such as hot flushes ease for most women. But health risk related to loss of oestrogen rise as the woman ages.
Ayurveda and Menopause
In Ayurveda it is called as Rajonivrutti
- Menopause is the transition from the pitta phase of life to the vata phase. Any woman who has suffered with significant pitta or vata imbalance before menopause, they are likely to get worse during menopause.
- Another factor leading to menopausal imbalance is the accumulation of digestive impurities (ama) in the physiology. Ama blocks the channels that transport nutrition to the cells and remove waste from the body and thus contributes to menopausal problems.
- A third factor is the misuse or overuse of mind, body, emotions or senses and this happens when a woman strains her mind too much or is under tremendous emotional stress.
Lifestyle tips & home remedies
- Try to pinpoint trigger points for hot flashes and it could be one among hot beverages, caffeine, spicy food, alcohol, stress, hot weather or even a warm room.
- Use water based vaginal lubricants in case of vaginal discomfort
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking
- Practice relaxation technique such as deep breathing, pranayama, massage and progressive muscle relaxation.
- Exercise regularly
- Strengthen pelvic muscles by doing floor exercise like kegal, also to improve urinary incontinence.
- Eat a balanced diet and include variety of nuts, fruits, vegetables and grains.
- Limit saturated fats, oils & sugars.
According to Ayurveda following dietary tips helps in managing menopause
- Diet is a crucial tool in menopausal management. If you are prone to pitta based problems, such as hot flashes or excessive irritability, follow a pitta pacifying diet – avoid spicy food (such as chillies, cayenne and black mustard seed),
- Avoid salty and sour food like ketchup, mustard and other salad dressings, condiments made with vinegar.
- Avoid eating packaged, processed, frozen, canned or left over food.
- Avoid heavy foods such as meat, cheese, yogurt, frozen desserts like ice- cream, especially at night.
- Beneficial foods include most of the fresh vegetables, rice, milk, cream. Diet should consist of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and light dairy products such as milk.
- Eat organic food that is cooked fresh each day.
- Include pitta reducing spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, fennel, small amount of cumin seeds while cooking.
- Eating meals at proper time is helpful for both vata and pitta dosha, it’s important not to skip meals. Also try to eat at the same time every day.
- If vata related symptoms are there – such as memory loss or vaginal dryness – use small amount of good fat like medicated ghee.
- Abhyanga (oil massage) during morning hours is extremely important for preventing menopausal problems. This increases circulation, calm vata dosha and provide needed moisture to the skin.
- Apaan-vayu governs the genitourinary tract and Basti is a very good treatment. It is also important to keep your digestion strong and free of ama.
- Proper sleep is very important for avoiding both Vata and Pitta doshas . Proper sleep from 10.00 pm to 6.00 am is most important as during this time body cleanses and purifies itself