What is Menstruation
Menstruation commonly called periods is the monthly uterine bleeding which occurs through the vagina. It usually starts between 11 years to 14 years in a girl child. It usually continues monthly till the age of 50 years. Menarche is the term used to denote the first menstruation.
The natural stoppage of menstruation is called menopause, which indicates the natural end of the reproductive cycle of a woman.
In addition to bleeding from the vagina, there can be the following symptoms as well
- Abdominal cramps
- Lower back cramps
- The heaviness of the breasts
- Pain or numbness of the breasts
- Increased appetite
- Mood swings
Menstrual Cycle and Tips for Healthy Menstruation
- Menstruation is the monthly vaginal
- It prepares the uterus to be pregnant
- Menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissues from the uterus.
- 50-150 ml of blood is released during each period.
If the fertilization does not occur, the menstrua cycle continues till another 14-15 days. This is called the secretory phase. This eventually results in shedding of the uterine lining and tissues and vaginal bleeding which is the menstrual phase.
Physiology of Menstruation
The menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days. In some women, it can occur every 21 days or every 40 days.The inner lining of the uterus called Endometrium goes through 3 phases during a typical menstrual cycle;
- The menstrual phase
( days 1-7)
- The proliferative phase
( days 6-16)
- The secretory phase
( days 17-28)
The menstrual phase is characterized by vaginal bleeding. After the menstrual phase, the uterus starts regenerating the additional tissue lining on the inner side of the uterus which is to receive a fertilized egg( if fertilization occurs in this period). This is called the proliferative phase. During this phase, the ovaries are also getting prepared to release a healthy ovum, for fertilization.
Menstruation and tips for healthy menstruation
The mood swings can be related to the levels of hormones during a typical menstrual cycle and the mood swings are quite normal.
Ayurveda Aspect of Menstruation
Ayurveda scholars describe menstruation as the monthly bleeding in women from 12 to 50 years of age. It also describes that the amount of blood flowing out decreases with age and finally stops at 50 years of age.
Signs and Symptoms of ovulating women
Ayurveda scholars call ovulating women as Ritumathi. She will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Pleasant but tired face
- Goosebumps in the breast and around the waist
- Eyes and abdomen will be loose
- Excessive lust
The description Rihumathi suits women are ovulating as well as proliferative phase. Because it is said that like the lotus flower des at sunset, the vagina closes after the rithukala and does not accept semen anymore. This statement emphasizes the importance of the menstrual cycle in the reproductive phase of a woman’s life.
Ayurveda condemns sexual intercourse during menstruation. The science also describes many customs and procedures to be followed during the periods.
Lifestyle during the menstrual phase
Ayurveda emphasizes on a good rest during the menstrual phase. The menstruating woman should take food which is easily digestible and don’t involve in activities asking more mental strain.
Yoga is strictly prohibited during the menstrual phase. Yoga consists of a systematic pattern of body activities that range from moderate to a higher level of exercises and it is better to avoid as it can seriously impact the reproductive system if done during the menstruating phase.
Girls or women tend to have acne during the menstrual cycle—so avoiding oily food is better during the last few days and the first days of the menstrual cycle.
Consumption of sesame seeds or food prepared with sesame seeds and regulated use of sesame oil is excellent for the women who prepare for pregnancy.
Vatha dosha has a major role in the flow of menstrual blood and so any diet that helps to balance vatha is good.
- Mudga(Mung daal,)
- Peya( rice soup),
- Consumption of lukewarm water
- Consumption of warm food
- Lemon juice
It is better to avoid spicy food, alcohol, and fried foods during menstruation.
Common Menstrual Disorders
Dysmenorrhea- Painful menstruation
Amenorrhea – Absence of menstruation.
Menorrhagia- Excessive bleeding.
Ayurvedic Management of Menstrual disorders
As stated above, Ayurveda considers the patients, rather than diseases. So patients’ of the same complaints may be managed with different medicines based on their body nature, age, mental status, etc. Commonly used medicines are Ashokarishta, Kumaryasava, Lakshmanarishta, Sukumaram Kashayam, Saptasaram Kashayam, Kaisore Guggulu, Rajapravardhini Vati, Mahanarayana Tailam, Dhanwantharam Tailam, Shadpala Ghrutham, Sukumaram Ghrutham as per the condition of the patient.
Home remedies like Ginger, Honey, Sesame, Ajawin, etc are used for relieving pain and cramps.
Yoga and Pranayam are best for maintaining hormonal equilibrium and mental calmness. A good sexual life is also essential for maintaining the health of the reproductive system.