Generally, a woman is said to have had her menopause if there has been no menstrual flow for at least one year. This natural end to reproductive life of a woman occurs in a time period of 45-55 years of age. The decline of the menstrual flow occurs gradually as the subsequent month’s progress. Once she enters this phase she is no longer fertile.
In Ayurveda, menopause is linked with aging, which is dominant Vata stage of life. Menopause is a culmination of all the three doshas of the woman’sbody. The menses themselves are pitta, while the woman may gain in her weight during this time, which indicates kapha imbalance. Since the woman may become moody and even lose her sleep during menopause, there is a strong indication of the vata dosha.
Menopausal symptoms occur due to the vitiation of one or more doshas, mainly Vata dosha. The symptoms are experienced by 75-85% of woman. Diet containing hot spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and stressful lifestyle can increase it.
Unhealthy lifestyle vitiates all the doshas leads to Ama (metabolic toxin) formation which causes Srotorodha (obstruction of Artava Vaha Srotas or menstrual channels) and hence affects the proper functioning of hormones leading to menopausal symptoms. So these symptoms are actually a body’s response to the individual to remind them to slow down the unhealthy lifestyle.
Ayurvedic classification of signs and symptoms during menopause
Vata-type menopausal symptoms tend to include nervousness, anxiety, panic, mood swings, vaginal dryness; irregular menstrual periods, insomnia, constipation, palpitations, bloating and joints aches and pains.
Women with Pitta-type symptoms are often prone to anger, irritability, hot flushes, night sweats, excessive menstrual bleeding, urinary tract infections, excessive hair fall, skin rashes and acne.
Kapha type symptoms include listlessness, weight gain, oedema, feelings of heaviness of the body, sluggishness, lethargy, fluid retention, yeast infections, lazy, depressed, lacking motivation, and slow digestion.
Ayurvedic Management of Menopausal Symptoms
Ayurveda advocates a holistic treatment of menopausal syndrome by utilizing various herbs and offers a reliable option to the conventional treatment. The herbs help to manage menopausal symptoms ensuring safety from associated risks that occurs with synthetic hormones.
They possess certain phytoestrogen. The estrogen or phytoestrogen connects with the body’s estrogen receptors, which enable the hormones to function properly, thereby help smooth the transition through menopause.
Few commonly used herbs effective in easing Menopausal Symptoms
Anethum Sova (Mishreya) acts as an emmenagogue which imparts active ingredients that increase more blood supply to the pelvic area and uterus.
Saraca Indica (Ashoka) is the best uterine tonic which strengthens the muscles of uterus and reduces vaginal discharge and pain.
Trigonella foenum graecum (Methika) contains estrogen-like saponins which help to improve uterine functions, reduce excess fat and levels of cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides safely and naturally.
Asparagus Racemosus (Shatavari) has phyto-estrogen which helps in hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, etc and enhances libido.
Hemidesmus Indicus (Sariva) it is a blood purifier and corrects the Rasa and Rakta dhatu hence effective in issues like hot flushes.
Emblica Officianalis (Amalaki) is an anti oxidant, rejuvenator and has anti aging properties, thereby promoting health of all organs including the uterus. It is a good cardiac tonic, hair tonic and complexion enhancer.
These herbs address almost all the changes of the menopause without any side effects and have an effect almost parallel to hormone replacement therapy and synthetic hormones medication.
Few classical preparations mentioned in Ayurveda texts which help to smooth the transition through Menopausal symptoms are Chanraprabha vati, Phala ghrita, Pushyanuga churna, etc.