Menopause is the stage in a woman’s life when the menstrual cycle stops. This is not a disease; rather it is a natural process in a woman’s life. However, the stage when a woman has her menopause could be a very painful and mentally debilitating stage. There could be several complications.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, menses is the flow of excess pitta from the woman’s body. 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.
Menopause is a culmination of all the three doshas of the woman’s body. The menses themselves are pitta, while the woman may gain in her weight during this time. This indicates a kapha imbalance. Since the woman may become moody and even lose her sleep during menopause, there is a strong indication of the vata dosha at play also.
Menopause can occur in women after the age of 45 years, though this widely varies from one woman to another. The average menopausal age could be taken as 51 years. It must be made clear that menopause is not an abrupt end to the menses. The decline of the menstrual flow occurs gradually as the months progress. Generally, a woman is said to have had her menopause if there has been no menstrual flow for at least one year.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Menopause
1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is more popularly known as Indian Ginseng for its believed aphrodisiacal properties. In the case of menopause, this herb is usually prescribed to cure insomnia and mood swings.
2. Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)
Beetroot is found to be extremely effective in making the menopausal experience less painful. It should be taken as a salad, in which the beetroots are boiled with their peel on. The peel must be removed before eating.
3. Indian Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
Known popularly as the jatamansi in India, this is another herb prescribed to cure insomnia and mood swings. For such benefits, this herb is prescribed to be taken along with ashwagandha.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Menopause
The complications during menopause can be reduced by bringing about changes in the dietary patterns. There are some very beneficial points that can be followed:-
4. Bitter foods are good dietary indications. The dark green leafy vegetables are mostly bitter in taste. They must be regularly incorporated in the diet as a woman is moving towards her menopause.
5. Astringent foods are also advantageous. These foods include beans, soybeans, potatoes, cabbages and poultry foods. Both the bitter and the astringent foods help in reducing the excess heat in the woman’s body that is produced during menopause.
6. Foods that are sour, salty and pungent are contra-indications for menopause. Onions, garlic, mustard and chilies are pungent foods. Tomatoes, tamarinds, vinegars and curds are sour foods. These must be avoided.
7. Consume foods that can provide some phyto-estrogens. Such foods are watermelon, berries, legumes, licorice and pomegranates.
During menopause, the need of the following nutrients increases:-
a) Vitamin D – obtained from egg yolk, milk and animal liver
b) Vitamin K – obtained from green vegetables, cereals and animal foods
c) Magnesium – obtained from nuts, bananas and dairy products
d) Manganese – obtained from cereal, bran, nuts and tea
e) Calcium – obtained from milk and milk products.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Menopause
Chandraprabha is the tablet of choice that most physicians would provide for menopausal problems. This tablet helps in reducing the vata vitiation which is one of the foremost causes of menopausal problems. Along with this, Punarnavasava or Lodhrasava must be taken thrice in 15 milliliters doses for a month. In order to increase the strength of the body, Dashamoolarishta and Pradari Lauha are prescribed.
If there are hot flushes during menopause (which increase body temperature and then cause sudden chills), then Ashokarishta is given along with Useerasava.
For any irritations or infections that may occur in the vagina during menopause, Gokshuradi Guggulu is prescribed to be taken in doses of two pills twice a day.
Massaging the back with Chandanaadi taila helps to allay insomnia and mood swings which can occur due to vata vitiations during menopause.
(4) Home Remedies for Menopause
1. Licorice must be consumed in fair amounts during menopause. It has the phyto-estrogens that are necessary to correct the hormonal imbalances during menopause.
2. Have beetroot juice daily or include it in salads.
3. Another recipe is to boil a few carrot seeds in a glassful of milk. Consume this milk with carrot seeds in it on a daily basis.
4. During menopause, there is a chance of osteoporosis setting in due to loss of calcium. Hence take adequate care of your calcium intake. The foods mentioned above must be had in the proper amount to maintain calcium levels.
5. Maintain a healthy active regime. Sluggishness and a sedentary life will make the menopausal process quite difficult.
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