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Menopause Solutions

Bhagwati Ayurveda & Panchkarma / Menopause Solutions

What is Menopause?

Menopause is defined as the point in time when menstrual cycles permanently cease due to the natural depletion of ovarian oocytes from aging. The diagnosis is typically made retrospectively after the woman has missed menses for 12 consecutive months. It marks the permanent end of fertility and the average age of menopause is 51 years.

The menopausal transition most often begins between ages 45 and 55. It usually lasts about 7 years but can last as long as 14 years. During the menopausal transition, the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones made by the ovaries, varies greatly. Bones become less dense, making women more vulnerable to fractures. During this period, too, the body begins to use energy differently, fat cells change, and women may gain weight more easily.

Signs and symptoms

While menopause is not a disease or disorder, it does trigger some profound changes in a woman’s body.

A diagnosis of menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for one year. However, the symptoms of menopause generally appear before the end of that one-year period.

Irregular periods

Changes to the menstrual pattern are the first noticeable symptoms of menopause. Some women may experience a period every 2 to 3 weeks. Others will not menstruate for months at a time.

Lower fertility

Perimenopause is the 3-to-5-year period before menopause.

During the perimenopausal stage, a woman’s estrogen levels will drop significantly. This reduces her chances of becoming pregnant.

Vaginal dryness

Dryness, itching, and discomfort of the vagina tend to occur during perimenopause.

As a result, some women may experience dyspareunia, or pain during sex. Women experience this pain due to lowering estrogen levels. These lower levels cause vaginal atrophy.

Vaginal atrophy is an inflammation of the vagina that happens as a result of the thinning and shrinking of the tissues, as well as decreased lubrication.

Hot flashes

A hot flash is a sudden sensation of heat in the upper body. It may start in the face, neck, or chest, and progress upward or downward.

The skin may become red and patchy, and a woman will typically start to sweat. Her heart rate may suddenly increase, strengthen, or become irregular. Hot flashes generally occur during the first year after a woman’s final period.

Night sweats

Hot flashes that occur during the sleep cycle are called night sweats. Most women say their hot flashes do not last more than a few minutes.

However, studies have confirmed that moderate-to-severe night sweats and hot flashes may pose a problem for around 10.2 years.

Disturbed sleep

It can be difficult for women to fall asleep and stay asleep as they progress through menopause.

In some cases, night sweats can lead to discomfort during the night and difficulty sleeping. Sleep disturbance may also be caused by insomnia or anxiety.

symptoms of menopause

Causes

  • Natural decline of reproductive hormones: As you approach your late 30s, your ovaries start making less estrogen and progesterone — the hormones that regulate menstruation — and your fertility declines. In your 40s, your menstrual periods may become longer or shorter, heavier or lighter, and more or less frequent, until eventually — on average, by age 51 — your ovaries stop producing eggs, and you have no more periods.
  • Hysterectomy: A hysterectomy that removes your uterus but not your ovaries usually doesn’t cause immediate menopause. Although you no longer have periods, your ovaries still release eggs and produce estrogen and progesterone. But surgery that removes both your uterus and your ovaries (total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy) does cause immediate menopause. Your periods stop immediately, and you’re likely to have hot flashes and other menopausal signs and symptoms, which can be severe, as these hormonal changes occur abruptly rather than over several years.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy: These cancer therapies can induce menopause, causing symptoms such as hot flashes during or shortly after the course of treatment. The halt to menstruation (and fertility) is not always permanent following chemotherapy, so birth control measures may still be desired.
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency: About 1 percent of women experience menopause before age 40 (premature menopause). Menopause may result from primary ovarian insufficiency — when your ovaries fail to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones — stemming from genetic factors or autoimmune disease. But often no cause can be found. For these women, hormone therapy is typically recommended at least until the natural age of menopause in order to protect the brain, heart, and bones.

The menopausal transition, sometimes called perimenopause, begins several years before a woman’s last period. During this time, women may experience spotty menstrual cycles, hot flashes, and other changes. While this time is commonly referred to as “menopause,” menopause doesn’t happen until 1 year after the final menstrual period.

This condition causes bones to become brittle and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures. During the first few years after menopause, you may lose bone density at a rapid rate, increasing your risk of osteoporosis.

Vaginal dryness from decreased moisture production and loss of elasticity can cause discomfort and slight bleeding during sexual intercourse. Also, decreased sensation may reduce your desire for sexual activity.

When your estrogen levels decline, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as in men. So it’s important to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet and maintain a normal weight. Ask your doctor for advice on how to protect your heart, such as how to reduce your cholesterol or blood pressure if it’s too high.

Many women gain weight during the menopausal transition and after menopause because metabolism slows. You may need to eat less and exercise more, just to maintain your current weight.

As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose elasticity, you may experience frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), or the loss of urine with coughing, laughing or lifting (stress incontinence).

Strengthening pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises and using a topical vaginal estrogen may help relieve symptoms of incontinence. Hormone therapy may also be an effective treatment option for the menopausal urinary tract and vaginal changes which can result in urinary incontinence.

Ayurveda and Menopause

Menopause is a culmination of all three doshas of the woman’s body. The menses themselves are pitta, while the woman may gain weight during this time, which indicates kapha imbalance. Since the woman may become moody and even lose her sleep during menopause, there is a strong indication of the vata dosha.

  • Vata-type menopausal symptoms tend to include depression, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Women with Pitta-type symptoms are often angry and suffer hot flashes
  • Kapha type symptoms include listlessness, weight gain, and feelings of mental and physical heaviness

Ayurvedic Menopause Treatment

In Ayurveda, Menopause is linked with aging, which is a Vata (air)-dominated stage of life. Therefore, the symptoms of menopause experienced by some women are similar to the symptoms seen when the Vata Dosha increases and upsets the normal balance of the body. Vata-type menopausal symptoms include depression, anxiety and insomnia. Menopause may also manifest itself as an increase in the other two doshas. Women with Pitta (fire)-type symptoms are often angry and suffer hot flashes. Kapha (water)-type symptoms include listlessness, weight gain, and feelings of mental and physical heaviness.

Ayurvedic treatment of Menopause focuses on strengthening and rejuvenating the reproductive system. Herbal preparations are prescribed to regulate the hormones, calm mental stress and maintain effective digestion. General tonics are also prescribed for boosting immunity and to provide rejuvenation. Diet and lifestyle adjustments are advised to maintain health and increase vitality naturally.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

  • Avoid excessive intake of salt, chilies, spices, sour foods, and pickles.
  • Decrease intake of caffeine and other stimulants, refined sugar, cold drinks, and salads.
  • Completely avoid junk food and carbonated drinks.
  • Increase the intake of warm foods and drinks; maintain regular meals, and use spices such as fennel and cumin.
  • An early bedtime, daily oil massage (with almond and olive oil), meditation, yoga, and regular exercise (like walking) are all helpful.
Ayurveda_for_Menopause

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