IRREGULAR AND PAINFULL PERIODS
Menstrual disorders are a common problem in women, occurring mainly during puberty. These can include irregular periods, heavy bleeding, painful periods, or the absence of periods altogether. Menstrual issues can significantly impact a woman's quality of life. Modern lifestyle has also caused this issue to be common. Factors such as hormonal imbalances, stress, or underlying medical conditions lead to menstrual disorders. Fortunately, Ayurveda has a solution to all these problems, as many treatment options are available, including natural remedies, medication, and lifestyle changes. By understanding the causes and symptoms of menstrual disorders, women can take control of their reproductive health and improve their overall well-being.
According to Ayurveda, aggravation of vata dosha and impairment of rakta dhatu (blood) are the main causes of menstrual abnormalities. The function of the srotas (channels) is also affected in such conditions. Ayurveda advises natural herbs, massages, detoxification therapies, ayurvedic syrups for irregular periods, and a good lifestyle to prevent and treat menstrual abnormalities.
Any deviation from the typical menstrual cycle, which usually lasts between 21 and 35 days, with bleeding lasting 2 to 7 days, is called an Irregular Period. It means that periods occur either more frequently than usual, less frequently than usual, or have varying durations or amounts of bleeding. Some common symptoms of irregular menstruation are as follows:
1. Hormonal imbalances: This is associated with dysfunction of the pituitary, thyroid, or adrenal glands. These consequences cause ovarian dysfunction and affect the secretion of female hormones, particularly estrogen, and progesterone. Hormonal imbalances can occur due to stress, obesity, excessive exercise, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and perimenopause. PCOS is a common condition that causes hormonal imbalances, leading to irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth.
2. Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can cause irregular menstruation, including uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and ovarian cysts. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus and can cause heavy or prolonged bleeding. Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, leading to painful periods and irregular bleeding. According to World Health Organization, Endometriosis affects at least 10% (190 million) of reproductive-age women and girls globally.
3. Coagulation abnormalities (Rasa Dhatu Dushti): It is a condition that affects the blood's clotting activities and is responsible for heavy menstrual bleeding, blood loss, and diseases such as thrombocytopenia and Von Willebrand disease, etc., which can also cause menstrual problems.
4. Lifestyle changes: Changes in lifestyle can affect the menstrual cycle, such as sudden weight gain or loss, excessive exercise, traveling, and changes in sleep patterns. Stress is also a common cause of irregular menstruation. The hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates hormones, can be affected by stress, leading to hormonal imbalances and irregular periods.
5. Medications: Certain medications can cause irregular menstruation, such as hormonal contraceptives, blood thinners, antipsychotics, ibuprofen, aspirin, Vitamin E supplement, and estrogen pills. Hormonal contraceptives can cause irregular periods as the body adjusts to the hormones, but this usually resolves after a few months of use.
6. Diseases associated with menstrual abnormalities: Cervical cancer, liver diseases associated with digestive disorders, kidney diseases, ovarian tumors, uterine infections, stress, obesity, etc. Multiple miscarriages and taking abortion pills can all be the cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding.
There are several irregular periods, each with its symptoms and causes. Here are some of the most common types:
1. Oligomenorrhea: This is a condition in which a woman has infrequent periods, with cycles lasting more than 35 days. Oligomenorrhea can be caused by hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS, thyroid disorders, or premature ovarian failure.
2. Polymenorrhea: This is a condition in which a woman's menstrual cycle is less than 21 days long. Polymenorrhea is a type of uterine bleeding that is abnormal. Hormonal imbalances, stress, excessive exercise, or certain medications can cause it.
3. Metrorrhagia: This is a condition in which a woman experiences irregular bleeding or spotting between periods. It is hard to tell the difference between metrorrhagia and a true period. It usually lasts two days or less. Hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids, or cervical or uterine cancer can cause metrorrhagia.
4. Amenorrhea: This is a condition in which a woman does not have a menstrual period for three or more months in a row. Amenorrhea can be caused by pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, or hormonal imbalances.
5. Dysmenorrhea: This is a condition in which a woman experiences painful periods, often with cramps, back pain, and nausea. Hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease can cause dysmenorrhea.
Several herbs are traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to help regulate menstrual cycles and promote hormonal balance. Ayurveda is very helpful in regulating the menstrual cycle as it focuses on balancing the body's doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) to promote overall health and wellness. According to certain studies, Ayurveda has been proven to combat PCOS, a disease from which 1 out of 3 women suffers today. It is certain that Ayurvedic medicines for irregular periods work better in certain cases and carries fewer risks compared to allopathic medicines and surgery.
Here are a few examples of Ayurvedic remedies examples:
1. Ashoka: The bark of the Ashoka tree is a popular herb known for its ability to regulate menstrual cycles. It is a natural source of phytoestrogens, which can help balance hormonal levels in the body. Ashoka can be taken in various forms, including capsules, powders, and teas.
2. Shatavari: It is commonly used as a female reproductive tonic and is believed to support hormonal balance and enhance fertility. Shatavari is a rejuvenating herb. It contains saponins, which have estrogenic effects and can help regulate menstrual cycles, reduce menstrual pain, and balance hormones. Shatavari can be taken in form of capsules, powders, and teas.
3. Ginger: An ayurvedic medicine for irregular periods, a natural anti-inflammatory, and can help relieve menstrual pain and cramps. Ginger is a warming herb. It can be consumed as tea, added to meals, or taken in capsule form.
4. Turmeric: It is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that can help alleviate menstrual pain and reduce inflammation associated with irregular periods. It can be added to meals or taken in capsule form.
5. Cinnamon: Another warming herb that can help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate menstrual pain. It can be added to meals or consumed as tea.
6. Aloe vera juice: Aloe vera can help to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce menstrual pain. It is believed to have a cooling effect on the body. Drinking a small amount of aloe vera juice daily can be beneficial.
7. Fennel seeds: They are traditionally used in Ayurveda to promote menstrual health. Fennel seeds also have antispasmodic properties, which can help relieve cramps and reduce bloating associated with menstrual periods. Chewing on a few fennel seeds after meals can help regulate menstrual cycles.
8. Hibiscus: It contains several powerful medicinal properties that allow it to promote reproductive health and relieve irregular periods. Drinking hibiscus tea is a great way to take advantage of these benefits while performing a relaxing, stress-relieving ritual.
Menstrual abnormalities are problems related to the female reproductive system, manifested by painful discharge, irregular menstrual bleeding, cramps, irritation, heavy bleeding, etc. According to Ayurveda, menstrual disorders are mainly due to the vitiation of Vata Dosha and Rakta Dhatu Dushti (Blood Impurity) and the blockage of Artavavahi Srotas (Menstrual Channels). Ayurveda recommends various shodhana (Purification) procedures, natural herbs, classical formulations, and pathya (Do’s) and apathya (Don’t's) measures to regulate a normal menstrual cycle. Nidana parivarjana chikitsa(Removal of causative factor), yoga, and meditation are also recommended. These home remedies are also present as ayurvedic medicine for irregular periods. Though these remedies are generally considered safe, it is still advisable to consult Ayurvedacharya at Healthy Bazar before starting any new remedy, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking medications.