Ayurvedic Management of Menopausal Syndrome
By Dr Sajimon George BAMS, AAA, ATMS
Menopause is not a disease.
It is a transitional phase that every woman goes through between the ages of reproductive and non reproductive ability.
It is a phase of life when a woman changes mentally and physically from sexual maturity to old age. Menarche or start of menstrual periods happens at different ages.
After completing this productive age, decreased estrogen secretion causes less abundant growth of endometrial lining and results in decreased flow.
Finally cycles become longer with missed periods or episodes of spotting only. When no bleeding has occurred for one year, we may assume that menopause has occurred. This transition brings a range of varying signs and symptoms. Collective signs and symptoms during this transitional phase is called menopausal syndrome.
Signs and symptoms may be classified into three groups
1. Vasomotor Symptoms
- Hot flush accompanied with tachycardia and palpitation.
Hot flush is the feeling of intense heat over the trunk and face. This symptom is present in 80% of women. Increased pulsatile release of gonadotropin hormone from hypothalamus triggers the hot flushes by affecting adjacent temperature regulating area of brain.
2. Genital and urinary symptoms
Decreased estrogen secretion gradually cause thinning of vaginal mucosa and decreased vaginal lubrication and may lead to painful sexual intercourse or dyspareunia.
- Increased urinary frequency – Frequency of urination may increase in some woman
3. Psychological changes
- Worry about age and self
- Decreased optimism
- Memory deficit
- Fluctuating mood
- Fear of loss of youth, beauty and feminine features.
According to Ayurvedic classics, menstruation starts by the age of twelve and ends by fifty. This can be changed depending upon hereditary, food and physical factors. The physical and mental changes that occur from the change over from sexual maturity to old age constitute menopause. This phase is Vata and Pitta predominant with some rare Kapha dominant symptoms.
Osteoporosis, vaginal atrophy, increased frequency of urination, insomnia, fluctuation in mood and fear of loss of youth etc are the prevalent symptoms of Vata predominance, while vasomotor symptoms such as hot flushes and irritability show Pitta predominance. Kapha predominant symptoms include weight gain and decreased energy levels.
Menopause management with Ayurveda
Assessment of symptoms shows increase of Vata humor resulting in degeneration of bone or asthi dhatu (osteoporosis). Aggravation of Pitta humor cause increase in hotness, spreading and pungency qualities of blood or Rakta dhatu (hot flushes).
In addition to the physical symptoms psychological impact of menopausal syndrome shows importance of head hence treatment procedures for head is very relevant.
Treatment is decided by physician after assessing the body constitution and deep investigation of presenting complaints (imbalances of doshas) of the patient.
Oral administration of suitable medicated ghee is very useful in this Vata and Pitta predominant condition.
Purgation by using suitable formulation is very effective in calming down aggravated Pitta humor and deranged blood or Rakta dhatu.
Nasal administration of higher doses of medicated oils is specifically indicated.
Based on symptoms, dhara or pouring of herbal decoction, medicated butter milk over scalp for 45-50 minutes is useful.
Judicious usage of Asparagus and Soya is helpful.
Usage of fat free dairy products, leafy vegetables and onion are good while spicy, sour and salty food are not indicated.
In all the above mentioned psychosomatic symptoms of menopausal syndrome meditation and yoga are useful under medical supervision.