MENOPAUSE : AGE LIKE FINE WINE
After my blog on “Female Genital mutation: A tool of gender inequality”, I took a long break from blogging because the effect of my research on Infibulation, the female genital mutilation was so enduring and suffocating. So here comes a lighter, but powerful and imperative topic - Menopause.
Every girl dreams about the months they are free of their menstrual misery. The day, they are free from the trouble of bleeding every month and the associated cramps and irritability. But once the girl becomes a woman, Menopause is something which no one wants to think or talk about. Rather than doing a lot of scientific lines on menopause, in this blog I would like to write about what one can do “ to age like fine wine”.
Menopause is defined as the permanent natural cessation of Menstruation. Average menopausal age of Indian women is 46.2 years which is way lesser than the 51 years of their western companions. It doesn't happen all of a sudden. But it starts around 4 to 10 years before the actual menopause as a transitional phase (Perimenopause). To some it is a smooth phase of transition but for some, it's a hurricane. Unfortunately Menopause comes with an increased risk of many health issues like osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, urinary incontinence, slower metabolic function, emotional vulnerability and insomnia.
Ayurveda caters remedies to all the signs and symptoms of Menopause, without any side effects like weight gain and drowsiness. The phase causes derangement of the three humors in the body, namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata dushti is the main complication and it leads to Dhathu kshaya or deterioration of the body tissues or fundamentals.
Correcting the metabolism is the key factor at this stage. ‘Vata’ balancing diet is more accurate during this period i.e the diet which is warm, light and has some healthy lubricating ingredient in it. The “Agni” can be aided by taking Deepana and Pacana formulations, after discussing with an Ayurveda Physician. Herbal formulations made out of Shatavari, Kumari, Asoka, Ashwagandha, Arjuna, Shatapushpa, Guggulu and many other Ayurveda herbs helps during the transition. But only after considering the individual constitution one should consume medicines.
Ayurveda treatments like Abhyangam, Sirodhara, kaya sekam, yoni pichu, udwarthanam, avagaham are supportive during the course of menopausal transition.
Few tips that can be incorporated are:
Including ginger, fennel, cumin, coriander, saffron, asafoetida etc helps to aid your digestion naturally.
Hydration is of utmost importance. Drinking of lukewarm water or water boiled with coriander and dry ginger is highly beneficial. Various herbal drinks can be used for better results.
Reduce the intake of alcohol, caffeine and quit the habit of smoking at the earliest.
Food rich in calcium andi in adequate supply of vitamin D is very important along with other nutrients. All sorts of fad weight loss diets should be discarded and a well balanced nutrition rich plate is to be embraced. Balancing the weight is equally important to alleviate menopausal symptoms and to reduce further ailments. Inclusion of soybean, yam, cauliflower, cabbage, berries, wheat bran, garlic sesame seed, flax seed etc is helpful for all the hormonal issues of the body.
Regular physical activity is very important, not just during the menopausal time but throughout your life. But considering all hormonal and chemical imbalances during Menopause, the best solution is to make Yoga a routine. Considering the stretching, the strengthening, the breathing and mental relaxation, there is no other option as good as yoga. Along with any physical activity, Kegel’s exercise should not be avoided.
Adequate sleep is another important fact to be considered. Not only long good sleep at night, but also a small nap in the afternoon helps to tackle the menopausal syndromes.
Stress management is a cardinal point. Yoga, learning new skills, traveling helps to mitigate stress. If necessary seeking professional help should not be neglected.
Vaginal Lubricants are advised to avoid dryness and skin rashes. Cold pressed virgin coconut oil, aloe based lubricants and water based lubricants are few suggestions.
Relaxation of body and mind is equally important. Ayurveda and Yoga works hand in hand to help one compose a delightful menopausal exploration. Menopause is just a phase that displays different characteristics in different individuals. It is very much advisable to see a physician and talk about your concerns. But before that, it is advised to keep a track of your symptoms and jot down the questions you want to discuss with your doctor. Menopause is not a disease, but a juncture where a little help can make the journey easier and happier.
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