Menopause & Ayurveda

Monday, 18. April 2016

Menopause & Ayurveda

Menopause is a transitional phase in every woman's life when hormonal changes occur. This hormonal turning point is often accompanied with discomfort and mood swings. Thanks to Ayurveda this need not be the case. 

During menopause the hormone level drops and changes in the menstrual cycle take place. These changes can have a dramatic impact on a woman's sense of comfort. Some of the main and most well-known symptoms are hot flashes, nervousness, irritability, depression, or pain in the abdomen and breasts.

Conventional medicine does not hold all the solutions to these discomforts and they are often treated with hormone therapy prescriptions. This practice has been criticized in recent years because the treatments have been link to vascular occlusive disease and may even increase the risk of cancer. Other measures such as operations are not without their own complications.

The Ayurvedic approach comes without any side effects that can be used as a complimentary treatment to conventional medicine or on its own to alleviate discomfort. According to Ayurveda, life is composed of energy and cycles that have an effect on the body as well as the mind. If these are not kept in balance, discomfort occurs. 

In Ayurveda, women are linked to agni, which in turns connects them to shakti, the energy of life, whereby women are able to become pregnant and bear children. The menstrual bleeding balances the fiery powers of the body and serves to cleanse the organism. 

During menopause the body changes and the synergy of energy becomes unbalanced, in particular pitta and vata. The goal is to bring the doschas back into equilibrium. Proper nutrition and a few lifestyle adjustments can create a great foundation. 

Nutrition

  • Eat less, but focus on high-quality food. 
  • Avoid spicy seasoning such as chilli and mustard seeds, etc. 
  • Forego very salty and sour food and be wary of yoghurt, berries and other sour fruits. 
  • Preferably consume bitter or sweet dishes. 
  • Increase your use of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, fennel and pitta churna.
  • Increase your intake of more ripe, i.e. sweet fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, beans, cucumber, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnip cabbage, etc.
  • Reduce your consumption of animal fats. 
  • Avoid caffeine-rich beverages such as coffee and black tea. 
  • Opt for warm beverages as opposed to cold drinks.

 Lifestyle

  • Enjoy more peace and quiet.
  • Go to bed earlier and rise earlier. 
  • Exercise helps to balance hormone fluctuations and uplifts the mood. 
  • Relaxing exercises such as meditating and yoga are beneficial. 
  • Regular detoxing procedures are necessary to balance the doshas. 

An array of supplements and active ingredients are available to ease discomfort brought about by menopause. These plants and supplements will be introduced in our next article.