Sailing through Menopause with Ayurveda

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A girl right from the time she is born to becoming a woman and till she turns old, she undergoes a lot of physical transitions in her life. How she copes with these numerous changes is bewildering for each time a change happens, her body changes and so does her psyche. The impact of it all is prodigious and the same time is indispensable, says Dr. Ajith Kumar, Director and Principal Consultant of Ayush Ayurveda, Singapore. One cannot but wish to elaborate on a natural & major transition in her life _ Menopause. 

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a phase that marks the end of the reproductive phase in women. When a girl comes of age, she attains the ability to procreate and this makes her feel important. But when that factor is erased from her life, a sudden pall of gloom descends on her. As women, you open up a Pandora’s box of emotional and physical problems or issues, explains Dr Ajith.

Cessation of the menstrual cycle between 45 -55 also brings down hormones in her body. Continues Dr. Ajith:  The word menopause is actually a Greek one. While men is Month pausis is Pause. It therefore literally means ‘End of the monthly cycles’. Thankfully, says the doctor of Ayurveda, humans do withstand this ‘reproductive atrophy’.

Menopause is nothing to be concerned about, pacifies Dr. Ajith Kumar. It is something that happens naturally and women experience cessation of their monthly cycles by 49 or 50 (approximately). 

Types of menopause

Unfortunately, this transition is not always smooth for every woman, explains the doctor of Ayurveda, Ayush, Singapore. Early menopause can also be triggered and the factors are very many. Dr. Ajith Kumar lists some of the anomalies:

  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • A malfunctioning thyroid gland
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Chemotherapy
  • Rise in the luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOD)

Another scenario when menopause does not happen naturally is when some women develop cancer or a cyst in their ovaries or uterus, details Dr. Ajith Kumar. In such cases, doctors advise surgery and the uterus and the ovaries or just the uterus is removed surgically or bilateral oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) is performed. This is called surgical menopause, explains the Ayurvedic doctor. 

Dr. Ajith Kumar elaborates that this gives a shock to the women’s body and the hormones fluctuate very badly. It creates a lot of agonizing symptoms in her. Some of them include:

  •  Abrupt ending of the monthly cycle
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Insomia and so on

Before going into other details about menopause, let us study another condition closest to it. It is called perimenopause, explains Dr. Ajith Kumar. It is the period just before menopause sets in. Let me detail some of its symptoms too, says the doctor of Ayurveda.

  1. Irregular bleeding occurs during the monthly cycle. Genital bleeding can be combined with genital atrophy. This is a transitional stage for the body. If this condition persists, women must consult a gynaecologist or visit a good Ayurvedic centre like Ayush to rule out any malignancies, warns Dr. Ajith Kumar.  The condition warrants urgent attention.
  2. A marked symptom is dryness of the vagina. The doctor of Ayurveda elucidates that this shows a decreased oestrogen level in the body. Women experience UTIs, post-sex bleeding and irritation in the vagina during this phase. These symptoms persist even after the onset of menopause, adds Dr. Ajith Kumar.

  3. Emotional imbalance (anxiety, mood swings, depression) and cognitive impairment all set in one after the other, points out the doctor. Women experience problems with memory due to lesser levels of estrogen in the brain or lesser blood supply to the brain due to hot flashes, explains the doctor of Ayurveda in Singapore.

  4. As though these are not enough some of the quintessential risks associated with perimenopause or menopause are osteopenia, osteoporosis, acute myocardial infarction (likely), lethargy, backache, tenderness in breasts, soreness, dizziness, dry and itchy skin, weight gain and erratic sleep patterns, explains Dr. Ajith Kumar, Physician of Ayurveda, Ayush, Singapore.

Coping with Menopause Symptoms

Elucidates Dr. Ajith Kumar, In Ayurveda, this period is a transition phase for every woman. It can be said to be a time of inner reflection and spiritual growth. Our team at Ayush can help those suffering from symptoms of menopause with ease and grace. 

We, at Ayush, offer a holistic approach and help the elderly woman to navigate or get over this situation peacefully, elaborates the doctor of Ayurveda. “Menopause is the time of inner reflection. As everyone knows, Ayurveda is particular about the balance of the fundamental energies of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. During menopause, there is a disruption in these. As a result, it affects the emotional well-being of the person undergoing the condition,” says Dr. Ajith Kumar.

Various ways to deal menopause

Exercise: As women tend to gain weight during this period, they have to seek ways to bring it down. Obviously, they have to either start walking a lot or stick to a strict exercise regimen. “Physical activity acts as a stress buster and boosts mood. It also makes them less susceptible to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases,” explains Dr. Ajith Kumar.  

Supplements: It is very important to address the risk of degenerative diseases, once a woman undergoes menopause. One way to do it is to include cheese, curd, fish, cod liver and green leafy veggies as part of your diet. These are rich in supplements like vitamin D and calcium, which are very much essential for menopausal women, clarifies the doctor of Ayurveda.

Water, sleep: Women should make sure to drink at least 7-10 glasses of water every day. The Ayurvedic physician says that this is one way of losing weight for these elderly women.

Protein-rich meals: Protein-rich foods are a must for menopausal women as it helps to curb the symptoms. It is also important to have a consistent meal schedule.

Relaxation techniques: Never stress yourself out when you are undergoing menopause, explains Dr. Aith Kumar. He advocates techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing to manage the condition.  

Sleep & Doctor visits: Just like any other treatment, it is very important to stick to a good sleep regimen (7-8 hours in a day). This will help you to combat the situation better, suggests the Ayurvedic physician. Along with this, the doctor also stresses on regular health check-ups and taking tests like mammograms, pap smears and bone density tests every year.

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