Ayurveda Menopause Article
Updated on March 3, 2010
March is our Blog Menopause Month - look for what you need under Archives
Ayurveda Perimenopause & Menopause
For over 5000 years, Ayurveda has acknowledged that the menopause is a natural transition for all women, not a mistake of Mother Nature's that requires hormone replacement therapy. The Ancient Scripts of Ayurveda informs us that menopause can be a health-promoting, spiritual awakening process that can be free of many of the troublesome symptoms. More women are using herbal remedies to help them with menopausal problems. Ayurvedic treatments and a range of herbal medicine have a lot to offer menopausal symptoms.
WE now understand that menopause is not a disease, but a normal part of life." Hormone "replacement" therapy (HRT) has become simply hormone "therapy" (HT) It is important to understand that in recognition of the fact that replacing estrogens is not natural and brings dangerous side-effects, rather than the fountain of youth once touted’
Experts today are affirming this positive view of menopause, stating that it is not natural to get weak bones, heart disease and rapid aging after menopause. Rather, osteoporosis, heart disease and other chronic health problems develop over a lifetime, resulting largely from poor diet, stress and lack of physical exercise. And hormone replacement therapy (HRT,) once heavily promoted as the medical solution to these problems is no longer recommended for their treatment or prevention. (Nancy Lonsdorf M.D)
Uncomfortable Symptoms of Menopause are usually caused by an unbalanced life. Most clients know this but find it hard or can be un-willing to change their habits until things become ‘unbearable’ to live with. However once the decision has been made to start life style changes most clients feel the benefits quickly and are eager to continue.
Not only are the physical symptoms of the menopause relieved but clients look younger and feel great.
It does take time and effort though.
A good barometer for determining your overall health you and your lifestyle when you reach menopause will largely determine how smooth your transition will be. If you have been "burning the candle at both ends" in your 30's and early 40's, you will more likely suffer from mood swings, sleep problems and hot flushes when your menopause begins and your hormones start to change. The healthier you are the easier your menopause
We tell our menopausal clients that the menopause and symptoms that arise from this transition are Nature's wake-up call to let you know you need to start paying more attention to your self and your health. Health problems at menopause represent the imbalances in the body that were already growing in the body and they become unmasked by the stress of your changing body. The important point to remember at midlife is that health problems don’t arise out of the blue when your hormone levels start to fluctuate. Rather it is the cumulative effects of damaging lifestyle habits, late nights, fast food, eating on the run, lots of stress and too little exercise over decades that set in motion chronic disease and aging well before menopause. Your symptoms tell you just how out of balance you are.
Ayurveda says that menopause is not a disease, but a natural transition in women that occurs at the age of 45-55 years and this time is a crucial stage in learning to care for your health and wellbeing. This transition is a natural part of the process of aging for women. And according to Ayurveda aging is a 'Vata' predominant stage of life, Vata means ‘the changing winds’
Ayurveda treats people by determining their doshas/body constitution. There are three doshas: Vata means changeable, movement and wind, Pitta means fiery, heat and transformation, Kapha means stability, substance and earth. And there are three basic types of imbalances relating to each of the three doshas. In menopause we are also working with the 3 types of menopausal types, which are Vata dominated menopause, Pitta dominated menopause and Kapha dominated menopause. Each type of menopause has different symptoms.
A Simple Introduction to each one
Usual Symptoms include - Nervousness, anxiety, panic, mood swings, vaginal dryness, loss of skin tone, feeling cold, irregular periods, insomnia, mild or variable hot flashes, constipation, palpitations, bloating and joints aches and pains.
Diet – Increase warm food and drinks, regular meals, and use spices such as fennel and cumin. Decrease caffeine and other stimulants, refined sugar, cold drinks, salads.
Lifestyle – Early bedtime, Do self massage using warming oils, sesame is best , meditation, yoga, walking and spices such as fennel and cumin.
Meditation, yoga, Regular exercise like walking
Anti-Vata Herbs - include Ashwagandha, arjuna, astragalus, cardamom, comfrey root, garlic, ginseng, guggul, hawthorn berries, liquorice, myrrh, sandalwood.
Usual Symptoms include - Prone to heat, anger, irritability, feeling over heated , hot flushes, night sweats, heavy periods, excessive bleeding, urinary tract infections, skin rashes and acne.
Diet - Increase cooling foods, water intake, sweet juicy fruits (grapes, pears, plums, mango, melons, apples,) zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, use spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and fennel. Avoid hot spicy foods, hot drinks and alcohol. no eating late at night.
Lifestyle - Increase cooling foods, water intake, sweet juicy fruits (grapes, pears, plums, mango, melons, apples,) zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, organic foods. Go to bed before 10 PM and try to wind down earlier in the evening. Decrease excessive sun and overheating, hot spicy foods, hot drinks and alcohol. Do self massage using coconut and sesame oil. Use Meditation and other techniques to reduce anger, hatred and resentment. Exercise and exposure to the sun are limited.
Anti Pitta Herbs to be used include aloe vera, Arjuna, barberry, golden seal, gotu kola, saffron, sandalwood and Shatavari.
Usual Symptoms include - Weight Gain, sluggishness, lethargy, fluid retention, yeast infections, lazy, depressed, lacking motivation, and slow digestion.
Diet - Prefer light, dry and warm food, Consume fruits, whole grains, legumes, vegetables. Use spices such as black pepper, turmeric and ginger. Avoid meat, cheese, sugar, cold foods and drinks. Weekly fasting is helpful. Most or all of the daily food should be consumed before 6 p.m.
Lifestyle – Getting up early and being active is good for Kapha. Mustard oil and linseed oil are often recommended for massage.
Anti Kapha Herbs - include bayberry, cayenne, cinnamon, guggul, motherwort, mustard and myrrh.
General and more common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause – Anaemia, Mild Hot Flushes, Increased hair fall, Irregular menstrual periods with excessive or scanty bleeding, Changing irritable moods, Joint pain, Water retention /Oedema, Night sweats, Sleeplessness, Vaginal dryness and itching, Tiredness and Weakness
Internal Cleansing Treatments at our Centre - More serious symptoms, such as frequent and severe hot flushes, regular sleep disturbance, and moderate to severe mood swings, are all signs of deeper imbalances that, if left untreated, will persist to set the stage for later disease. As you continue to age symptoms will manifest in your body, the tissues of your body, bones, muscles, fat, organs, skin, and blood are disturbed and you begin to feel unwell Ayurveda tells us that stubborn symptoms are usually due to the build up of wastes and toxins, referred to as "ama," in your body's tissues.
As an example, hot flashes that continue despite taking recommended herbs, changing your diet, doing exercise usually represent a problem with ama. When your body's channels are clogged with wastes, the heat from metabolism builds up in your tissues. No matter how much estrogens or phytoestrogen you have floating through your blood stream; it does you no good unless it connects with your body's estrogens receptors, the tiny "keyholes" on your cells. Estrogens and phytoestrogen fit these keyholes like minuscule keys and through them gain entry into your cells. When the receptors are clogged with debris or "ama," your hormones cannot get into your cells to do their work. Then menopause symptoms may persist despite a variety of attempted therapies. (Nancy Lonsdorf M.D) Many ladies who come to our clinic have tried lots of herbs and remedies and will need a deeper method of balancing.
In these cases, a traditional Ayurvedic detoxification program referred to as "panchakarma," may be needed to clear the body's channels and gain relief.
A study published the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine confirmed that ayurveda treatments of herbalised oil massage, heat treatments and mild internal cleansing therapies does indeed reduce toxins in the body. In some cases toxins were reduced by approximately 50% after just 5 days of treatment.
A panchakarma program here at the centre will help to eliminate symptoms whilst at the same time dramatically reduce stress and fatigue. After a week of treatment, patients feel much better, and they radiate health and youthfulness and many experience a profound sense of well-being and inner peace.
The Emotions That We Can Experience Through Menopause - Most of our Menopausal clients experience an increase in emotions, and describe themselves as ‘angry’, ‘fiery’ we can embrace this fiery energy, rather than fear it. Most clients try to avoid or ignore this energy and it is important to take time for yourself when you find yourself crying, yelling, raging, depressed, out of control.
Making time to find your own special place no matter how small in a quiet part of your home can be valuable. Create your own sacred space where you can be alone, without responsibilities, where you can be safe to feel your emotions and accept them as changes in your emotional self. I encourage all my clients to keep a journal as a way express and record how your feelings and emotions change and grow this helps to care for yourself and your emotions.
Menopause and Your Love Life - Many clients experience a loss in libido during menopause and we offer natural herbal remedies to help. Panchakarma programmes help clients to feel and look better which encourages self esteem which often lost during these difficult times.
We encourage clients to try something new and bring changes into the bedroom by using sensual massage oils and therapeutic quality erotic essential oils. Mutual massages with the right blend of aromatic oils can ignite your love life. Get prepared for a romantic evening by taking a geranium and clary sage bath as these two oils are "hormone regulators" and can work on a mental level to harmonize emotions. Oils that can have a positive effect on sex hormones are rosewood, pine, patchouli, lemon, jasmine, clary sage, and bergamot. Rose and lavender are good because they can relieve stress. Ylang ylang, rose, black pepper, and ginger are considered aphrodisiacs. Recent research shows that sex can improve your health, strengthen your immune system, and prevent the onset of disease.
HRT – If you are taking HRT there will always be side effects