By Dr Renita D’Souza
Ayurveda treatises have dedicated few chapters exclusively emphasizing on women’s health and its maintenance. Maintaining health issues at the earliest in women is utmost important as her normal body doshas are more prone to undergone imbalance due to changes occurring in her physical condition.
Read – Menstrual Pain, Painful Periods – Natural Ayurvedic Herbal Home Remedies
Menstruation is such condition wherein doshas are more prone to undergo changes if proper diet and lifestyle is not followed pertaining to symptoms present during menstrual flow, body type, her digestion strength etc. Imbalance of these doshas during menstrual cycle affects her health as well as health of her progeny.
Read – Diet And Lifestyle For Women In Ayurveda
Menstrual cycle is natural cleansing process occurring in women every month. If this process is regular then it itself heals the imbalanced doshas and purifies blood tissue and rasa dhatu to maintain normal reproductive tissue in women. Hence maintaining and correcting menstrual cycle to normalcy is given utmost important in Ayurveda.
Read – Heavy Periods, Menstrual bleeding Ayurvedic Treatment
Dosha involvement in Menstrual cycle
All three doshas, vata , pitta and kapha dosha are involved to form complete and normal menstrual cycle.
Kapha dosha – acts as the binding substance. In normal it is responsible to combine the substance to build and form particular structure. It is used as synonymous for ojus, which nourishes, supports and gives strength. Owing to this property of kapha it is normally involved from follicular phase until ovulation.
Read – Understand Kapha Dosha By Its Functions
During follicular phase the egg matures and is released during ovulation. If pregnancy occurs during this period then kapha dosha maintains and nourishes the lining of uterus to implant the fertilized egg and maintains pregnancy. Ovulation occurs around 14th day of 28 day menstrual cycle. It can vary 4 days before and 4 days after the midpoint of menstrual cycle
Read – Ovulation Time, Proper Time For Conception, Ayurvedic Perspective
Pitta dosha – It is responsible to fill blood vessels and increase the blood flow while preparing the uterus for implanting the fertilized egg during secretory phase of menstrual cycle. It is responsible for raising the women’s basal body temperature following ovulation.
Vata dosha – It is responsible for movement and activity. During menstrual cycle normal vata dosha cause easy downward flow of menstrual bleeding without pain and obstruction.
Read – Hypomenorrhoea: Causes, Remedies, Ayurvedic Treatment
Symptoms of Menstrual disorders
- Scanty bleeding
- Excessive flow
- Painful menstruation
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Low back pain
- Psychological symptoms – Anxiety, fear, mood swings, anger, stress
- Other symptoms – headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation etc
Diet and Regimen during Menstruation
Diet and regimen during periods should be such that it should balance doshas, maintain digestive fire and satvik to mind.
Maintain digestive strength
- Low digestive strength is one of the factor that causes imbalance in dosha. Such imbalanced dosha in women can make her to encounter various menstrual disorders. Low digestive strength will accumulate toxins (ama) in channels which cause obstruction in menstrual flow and makes it painful. Indigestion can also cause symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea etc during menstrual cycle.
- Light food which is digested easily is served fresh and warm. Example – greengram, fried barley gruel etc
- Drinking warm water helps smooth menstrual flow by reducing abdominal cramps, maintains digestion normal, improves appetite and taste.
- Avoid oily food stuffs, junk food, refrigerated food items, deep fried, burnt food stuffs, fish, meat, cheese etc which is heavy for digestion.
- Take food at regular time when food taken previously is digested. Do not skip your meals.
- Diet should contain ghee in little quantity. This helps maintain your digestive acids, nourishes the reproductive tissues, maintain apana vata in downward direction so it helps smooth menstrual flow by reducing abdominal cramps, bloating, headache etc
- Ghee also calm your mind as it is one of the satvik food which is recommended for daily intake. Hence including it in daily diet in proper quantity in women also helps relieve stress, anxiety, mood swings, fear etc
Maintain vata dosha
- Take rest – Avoid excess physical strain during menstrual flow as it can increase your body vata dosha which can cause symptoms such as pain, abdominal cramps, headache, anxiety, mood swings etc. Hence it is best to avoid excessive exercising, walking for long distance, long travel, detox treatment such as emesis, purgation, enema etc
- Avoid late night sleep, night vigils and do not suppress natural urges. All these activities cause imbalance in apana vata which in normal governs menstruation, ovulation, conception etc in women.
- Recommended diet for vata dosha during menstrual flow – Ghee, Milk, sugarcane juice, coconut water, almonds, banana, pomegranate, cereals such as rice and wheat, spices such as cumin seeds, coriander, sesame seeds, ginger etc
Maintain pitta dosha
- Avoid intake of spicy, sour, salty taste foods. Example – excess using chilly, tamarind, tender mango, pickle. These foods can cause excess menstrual flow, menstrual burning sensation, anger outburst etc
- Recommended diet for pitta dosha during menstrual flow – Milk, Ghee, Greengram, Snake guard, chikku, pomegranate, almonds, sugarcane, cumin seeds etc
- Your diet, thoughts, activities influence your mental status.
- Satvik diet – diet which is light to digest, freshly prepared, warm, sweet tasting food etc is considered as satvik to mind i.e it calms your mind, bestows optimistic thoughts, improves strength and immunity.
- Meditation – Stress during menstruation can make it painful and cause different aches such as low back ache, abdominal cramps, headache etc. Meditation such as practice of inner silence i.e antar mouna, pranayam helps relieve stress. Mental stress cause imbalance in vata dosha which cause various pain and aches. On relieving stress, anxiety etc balances vata dosha which helps to relieve pain and aches during menstruation and makes its flow smooth and easy.
1. Research conducted on timing of the fertile window in menstrual cycle has concluded that timing of the fertile window is unpredictable, even if the menstrual cycle is normal. (A)
2. Research conducted to evaluate effects of yogasanas in the management of pain during menstruation have concluded with study showing that
yoga and relaxative techniques are better and beneficial therapy in the management of irregular menstruation and reducing the pain during menstruation. (B)