Menstruation
324 Case Studies
42 Member Stories
34 Research

Ayurveda has a holistic view about different stages of women's life and has solutions for each one of them.

What is a menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle is the monthly series of changes a woman's body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. Monthly, one of the ovaries releases an egg - a process called ovulation. At precisely the exact same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg isn't fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period.


Women may experience menstrual cycles that fall out the standard as described previously. Menstrual problems include missing a time period, change in the length of the cycle, changes in the flow, colour, or effects of menstrual blood, and extreme pain or other menstrual disorders. Women may also experience psychological distress or wide mood swings during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. There is evidence that a significant proportion of premenopausal women suffer emotional distress or impairment in job functioning in the week before their menstrual period.

How does Ayurveda view Menstruation?

Ayurveda concepts on Menstrual cycle 

The menstrual blood which flows out a woman’s body every month is called as ‘Raja’ or ‘Artava’ as per Ayurveda. Menstrual blood or Rajas is considered as an Upadhathu or sub tissue of Rasa Dhathu (Plasma) according to Ayurveda concepts. From Rasa or Plasma, blood tissue or Rakta dhathu is formed which has menstrual blood as the byproduct in women. This menstrual blood reaches the uterus and is discharged for a period of three days. 


The discharged menstrual blood or Artava has the following features – 

  • - Predominant of Pitta
  • - It possesses qualities and features of blood 
  • - It helps in the formation of fetus
  • - Normal quantity expelled is around 4 ounces 

We all are familiar with the terms Menarche and Menopause. The first appearance of Menstrual cycle in a girl is termed as Menarche and the cessation of menstruation in old age is termed as Menopause. Ayurveda opines the age of Menarche as 12 years and the age of menopause as 50 years.  


Ayurveda has explained in detail about women’s health. There are proper solutions described for each of the different health issues that a woman faces in her stages of life. 

What menstraul disorders does Ayurveda treat?

Menstrual disorders and their Ayurvedic approach 

The menstrual disorders described in ancient Ayurveda classics are the following. 

  1. - Scanty menstruation
  2. - Heavy bleeding
  3. - Irregular menstrual cycle
  4. - Painful menstruation
  5. - Premenstrual symptoms like back pain, nausea etc. 
  6. - Stress, anxiety and mood swings

Research in Ayurveda for Menstrual Disorders

Research studies showing the efficacy of Ayurveda in Menstrual disorders

  1. 1. Scanty menstruation/ Oligo Menorrhea – The administration of shathapushpa choorna for three months in a dose of 5 g twice daily along with cow’s ghee has been showing encouraging results in women aged between 15 and 35 years in Oligo menorrhea or Artava Kshaya. [1]

  2. 2. Hypomenorrhea, Oligomenorrhea and dysmenorrhea has been shown to realize outcomes improvement by the administration of Vasti. Dashamoola tila thaila Vasti has shown improvement effects on Hypomenorrhea. [2]

  3. 3. Longer duration of menstrual bleeding and irregular menstruation is often associated with depression and stress disorders. [3] Ayurveda therapies can effectively manage stress and depression.  

  4. 4. The effects of Yogasanas in effectively managing painful menstruation has also been studied. 50 participants in case group attended Yoga class for 45 minutes for a period of 3 months. Visual Analog Scale or VAS scale was used to assess the pain after 3 months in the case group and control group which didn’t do Yoga. The effect of Yoga and other relaxation techniques showed improved pain relief during menstruation in the case group. [4]


5. Herbal combinations generally used for managing irregular and painful menstruation

A patient appeared with complaints of occasional pain in abdomen (bilateral iliac) and intermittent per vagina bleeding for last three months. She also complained about scanty menstruation and lower back ache. She was diagnosed with sub serosal uterine fibroid with right para ovarian cyst. She had undergone surgery for the same and on follow up USG another intramural fibroid was seen. 

Later she had taken Ayurveda therapies like shodhana to be more specific Virechana and internal administration of drugs like Kanchanara guggulu, Pushyanuga Choorna and chandraprabha vati for a period of 2 months. On second follow up USG was done and found no hypo echoic lesions in uterus. Also, her periods had become regular and pain in the lower abdomen reduced. [5]

Ayurvedic treatment for menopause

As we have discussed the ayurvedic management of menstrual disorders let us discuss about Ayurvedic approach to menopause. 


There is a period called perimenopausal period which occurs around age 40 years in women. In Ayurveda it is called as Rajonivarthi kala. 

Generally, the following symptoms are shown during this period. 

  • - Scanty/prolonged period of menstruation
  • - Mood elevations
  • - Excessive sweating 
  • - Loss of sleep/Insomnia
  • - Hot flashes
  • - Anorexia or decreased appetite
  • - Lower sex drive
  • - Vaginal dryness 

Let us look at the Ayurveda management of each of these issues faced. 

Excessive bleeding/Irregular bleeding

Stress/ sleep disturbances

Vaginal Dryness

Hot flashes 

  • Pushyanuga choorna – As I have already discussed this herbal combination is highly effective in irregular/heavy bleeding. 
  • Ashokarishta
  • Patrangasava

  Ashwagandharishta -For managing fatigue, stress and mood disorders

  • Chandraprabha vati – In Ayurveda this potent medicine is used for urinary tract infection, painful urination, vaginal dryness and even urinary calculi. 
  • Gokshuradi Guggulu – Mainly used for female gynecological disorders
  • Trinapancha moola kwatha – In painful and burning micturition and vaginal and urethral dryness

Hot flashes can be effectively managed by a Pitta balancing diet and regimen. 

  • Kumuda rasa 
  • Pravala pishti etc. are rasa medicine which can act as a source of calcium and successfully manage hot flushes. 

 

Ashwagandha herb for women's health

Ashwagandha is used in Ayurveda frequently for managing women’s health disorders based on the Practitioner's advice.


  • a. For Uterine fibroids

Withnia Somifera or Ashwagandha is used as a Rasayana in Ayurveda. Many scientific studies and case studies were carried out and its adaptogenic / anti-stress activities were studied in detail. In many cases of uterine fibroids, dermatosarcoma, called as Arbuda in Ayurveda long term treatment with WS controlled the condition. 6


  • b. For stress

Ashwagandha has recently gained recognition as a treatment for anxiety and stress in the United States. It is used as an alternative to benzodiazepines and other prescription medications. It is categorized as an anti-inflammatory, anti-stress supplement medication. This potent herb is also classified as an adaptogen, which indicates its ability to regulate and manage physiologic processes and thereby stabilize the body's response to stress. 7


  • c. Improving sexual function in women

Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce and control cortisol levels in persons under chronic stress and anxiety, restore normal adrenal function, and normalize and regulate the sympathetic nervous system. It’s root extracts treats sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction and performance anxiety in Males. In women, it ameliorates diminished sexual desire in women and in all forms of sexual dysfunction. 8

Pitta pacifying diet and regimen for hot flashes

A balanced Pitta will always reduce the hot flashes and night sweating associated with Menopause. Keep the following things in mind to balance Pitta during menopausal period. 

  • - Remember to relax physically, mentally and emotionally. Practice Yoga and pranayama or engage yourselves in your favorite sports. 
  • - Never skip meals, especially Lunch. Include sweet juicy fruits, cooling spices like coriander, fennel and mint. 
  • - Avoid sour, salty and spicy foods.
  • - Drink lots of room temperature water. 
  • - Regularly practice abhyanga with a pitta pacifying oil and use room temperature water for bathing. 
  • - Use herbs like triphala, ashwagandha, usheera etc. as per the instructions of your practitioner
  • - Undergo a shodhana therapy or Virechana once in 6 months to keep the pitta in check. 

Summary

Ayurveda has a holistic view of women's health issues at different stages of life, and has solutions for each phase for good health. All the herbs and treatment procedures explained here are based on research studies. Still, before undergoing any Ayurveda herbs or procedure make sure you consult your holistic practitioner. 

References

1. Ghose, A., & Panda, P. K. (2010). Clinical efficacy of Shatapushpa (Anethum sowa Kurz.) powder in the management of Artava kshaya (oligomenorrhoea). Ayu, 31(4), 447–450. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.82039

2. Vasti Management in treatment of menstrual disorders – Thesis by Kaumadi Karunagoda, Shilpa Donga, Laxmiprriya Dei 

3. Nagma, S., Kapoor, G., Bharti, R., Batra, A., Batra, A., Aggarwal, A., & Sablok, A. (2015). To evaluate the effect of perceived stress on menstrual function. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR, 9(3), QC01–QC3. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2015/6906.5611

4. May 2018 Journal of Midwifery and Women?s Health 63(2) DOI: 10.1111/jmwh.12729

5. Mayuri Shingnapurkar et al: A Case Study - Regression Of Uterine Fibroid Through Holistic Management Of Ayurveda. International Ayurvedic Medical Journal {online} 2018

6. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., de Jager, P., & Gilca, M. (2011). An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African journal of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines : AJTCAM, 8(5 Suppl), 208–213. doi:10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9

7. Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 20(12), 901–908. doi:10.1089/acm.2014.0177

8. Dongre, S., Langade, D., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Improving Sexual Function in Women: A Pilot Study. BioMed research international, 2015, 284154. doi:10.1155/2015/284154


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