Womanhood is a great blessing and is, of course, a big responsibility. A woman passes through various life transitions including menarche, pregnancy, labour, breast-feeding, child nurturing and finally menopause. These phases are all part of normal female physiology. Through bloodletting in menstruation, the body provides the woman with a natural way of monthly cleansing and rejuvenation. At menopause, the body puts an end to her reproductive life. Ayurveda recommends various dietary, lifestyle and herbal regimens during this milestones in a woman’s life.
In the world of today, it is common for women to face difficulties related to menopause. Menopausal symptoms vary, depending on how the woman’s perspective on this phase of her life and also, the balance of her doshas. Though menopause is not the finishing point of youth and sexuality, Ayurveda links it to the natural aging process. While Vata dosha is responsible for aging and in menopause, there can also be Pitta and Kapha symptoms, depending on the balance of the doshas. Because of the natural shift in hormones, mild symptoms at menopause are considered normal; more severe symptoms indicate a possible underlying dosha imbalance.
The symptoms of Menopause can be Categorized as:
Vata: irregular scanty bleeding during pre-menopausal days, mood swings, anxiety, fear, nervousness, reduced memory and concentration, sleeping problems, sagging, dryness and lack of skin tone, vaginal dryness, low libido, osteoporosis symptoms, constipation and bloating
Pitta: heavy bleeding during pre-menopausal days, hot flashes, night sweats, anger, irritability, infections, skin rashes and cardiovascular problems
Kapha: weight gain, fluid retention, high blood cholesterol, lack of interest and enthusiasm, depression, laziness and heaviness in the body
HOW TO MANAGE MENOPAUSE:
By following a holistic approach to life, along with proper diet and lifestyle that bring the doshas into a state of equilibrium is the accurate pathway to a happy, healthy and blissful menopause.
Here are some simple tips:
- Eat fresh, organic and healthy food in appropriate quantities;
- Eat according to your appetite and always keep an eye on your digestion and bowel movements;
- Make sure your food includes whole grains, cereals, beans, lentils, flax seeds, peanuts, soya products which are a good source of natural phytoestrogens. Make sure however there are organic and from a good source. Eat enough green leafy vegetables and other vegetables like asparagus, carrots, broccoli, beetroots and fruits like berries, avocados, pumpkins, citrus fruits and apples; Include mild spices like fennel, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg in your dishes.
- Vitamin D is important for bone health
- Avoid processed, refined and canned foods
- A cup of green tea or herbal tea daily is recommended instead of other caffeinated and energy drinks
- Avoid too much spicy, fried and smoked food
- Practice regular yoga, meditation and pranayama
- Maintain a healthy sleeping pattern of 7-8 hours of sleep
- 5-10 minutes of meditation before sleep is highly beneficial
- A brisk, gentle walk for about 30 minutes daily
- Abhyanga massage daily or 2-3 times a week prevents aches and pains
AYURVEDIC APPROACH BASED ON STATE OF DOSHAS:
- Food – Warm, cooked, regular and unctuous (oily) food
- Taste – Sweet, Sour, Salt
- Herbs – Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu (Liquorice)
- Food – Cold (Room Temperature)
- Taste – Astringent, Sour, Sweet
- Herbs – Shatavari, Aloe Vera, Saribha (Sarsaparilla)
- Food – Warm, light and non-oily
- Taste – Bitter, pungent, astringent
- Herbs – Ashwagandha
Severe symptoms indicates a serious dosha imbalance in the body. In this case, it is important to consult an Ayurvedic physician to undergo panchakarma, a detoxification therapy, and to take other indicated medications. Panchakarma helps to flush out accumulated toxins and various treatment procedures, such as abhyanga (body massage with warm oil), kizhi (herbal rice bolus massage), pizhichil (oil bath of whole body), shirodhara (sesame oil poured over forehead) can help strengthen your body functions and bring overall health and bliss.