Menopause occurs when the ovaries stop producing large amounts of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones intimately involved with the menstrual cycle. Modern medicine tends to view this process as an ailment—an unhealthy state of deficiency. This is because certain diseases have been shown to be related to the lack of hormones in a woman’s body. For instance, osteoporosis, the loss of density in the bones, can occur more quickly. Also, blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides often start increasing, so that women become more prone to heart disease.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, the loss of estrogen merely sheds lights on underlying imbalances, which become noticeable when the added protection of estrogen is gone. If a woman’s physiology is balanced, Ayurveda suggests that she can have a comfortable menopause.
Ayurveda looks at two levels of symptoms of menopause—short term and long term. Today we’ll look at the short-term symptoms.
Short-term effects of menopause include hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood swings. To determine the cause of these symptoms, an Ayurvedic expert examines the balance of doshas in the body.
Menopause marks a major transition in a woman’s life as she moves from a time of life influenced by Pitta to one influenced by Vata. Thus Vata tendencies often increase at this time. Classic signs of Vata include thinner, drying skin and mucous membranes, thinning of the hair and bones, lighter sleep and an increased tendency to worry. Ayurveda suggests that these symptoms can be largely avoided by keeping Vata in balance through diet, herbs and daily routines.
Imbalanced Pitta also plays a part in menopausal symptoms. Because Pitta regulates hormonal balance, heat production and metabolism, it is this dosha that is primarily involved with hot flashes. During the years of menstruation, impurities in the body get eliminated each month with a woman’s menstrual flow. (Ayurveda recognizes the profound purification that occurs during menstruation and for this reason recommends light activity and diet during this time.) When this monthly cleansing stops, excess Pitta can begin build up.
The Ayurvedic solution is to balance Pitta through diet and herbal recommendations and to remove impurities through the classic Ayurveda purification and detoxification therapies, known as Panchakarma. Reserving one day a month for home cleansing can also be helpful during this transition time.
If you are approaching menopause or find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, a consultation with an Ayurveda expert can be extremely helpful in pinpointing what measures can best help restore a healthy balance. For more information visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa: