Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ayurveda and Menopause

here is an article I found on the web that explains a natural approach to menopause.

I have copied the first half here, and you can click on the link below to read the rest. I have recently seen an Ayurvedic consultant and found it makes perfect sense, and doesn't involve hundreds of dollars of supplements. Knowing your own body type and eating correctly can make the difference. Read on....

"For over 5000 years, Ayurveda has acknowledged menopause as a natural transition, not a mistake of Mother Nature's that requires hormone replacement therapy. Maharishi Ayurveda reassures us that menopause can be health-promoting, spiritually-transforming and free of troublesome symptoms.

Experts today are affirming this positive view of menopause, stating that it is not natural to get weak bones, heart disease and rapid aging after menopause. Rather, osteoporosis, heart disease and other chronic health problems develop over a lifetime, resulting largely from poor diet, stress and lack of physical exercise. And hormone replacement therapy (HRT,) once heavily promoted as the medical solution to these problems, is no longer recommended for their treatment or prevention.

What is recommended for the prevention of major health problems after menopause is a healthy lifestyle. And, according to Ayurveda, healthy living is also the best way to ease symptoms of the menopause transition itself. How balanced, or overall healthy you and your lifestyle are when you reach menopause largely determines how smooth your transition will be. If you are "burning the candle at both ends" in your 30's and early 40's, you are more likely to have mood swings, sleep problems and troublesome hot flashes when your hormones start to change. Whereas if you are have healthy lifestyle habits and are managing your stress effectively, you are likely to breeze through menopause without any major problems.

Health problems at menopause represent imbalances in the body that were already growing in the body and are unmasked by the stress of shifting hormones. Menopause symptoms are Nature's wake-up call to let you know you need to start paying more attention to your health.

Age forty-five to fifty-five is a critical decade, according to Ayurveda. It provides the foundation on which your later health is laid. Just like putting money in your IRA, timely investing in your health can dramatically increase your "yield" of healthy years at midlife and beyond. Particularly if you have not been taking care of yourself in your 30's and 40's, making lifestyle changes now is critical to ensuring that you age gracefully without the burden of chronic health problems.


What You Can Do Now to Get "In Balance"

While eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise provides the foundation of good health for everyone, each woman's menopause experience is unique. Symptoms vary from woman to woman. Knowing precisely how your body is out of balance can guide you in selecting the key lifestyle changes you should make to relieve your symptoms.

Ayurveda describes that the type of symptoms you have depends upon which bodily principle or dosha is "out of balance" in your mind/body system. There are three bodily principles: movement and flow (vata or airy), heat and metabolism (pitta or firey), and bodily substance (kapha or earthy.)

And there are three basic types of imbalances relating to each of the three doshas. Easing your menopause transition can be as simple as "reading" your dosha symptoms and taking measures to get your doshas back in balance. The following symptoms and lifestyle prescriptions are indicated for each of the three dosha imbalances:

Ayurveda describes that your hormonal changes at menopause will be smooth and easy if three factors are in place.

Your mind/body system (consisting of three doshas) is in "balance."
Your diet is wholesome and rich in phytoestrogens.
Your body is "clean" and uncluttered inside so your hormones and body can "talk" effectively.

Did you know that your ovaries and adrenal glands continue to produce estrogens and "pre-estrogens" after menopause, providing your body with its own hormonal backup system? Ayurveda describes that this hormonal production after menopause will be optimal if your mind and body are "in balance," providing just the right amount of estrogen to prevent hot flashes and keep your bones, skin, brain, colon and arteries healthy without increasing the risk of breast or uterine cancer. Balancing your doshas, as discussed above, is the first approach to ensuring optimal hormone production after menopause, but Ayurvedic herbs can also help.

Indian asparagus root (shatavari; asparagus racemosus), thick-leaved lavender (chorak; angelica glauca- related to the Chinese female tonic Dong Quai,) licorice root, sandalwood, pearl, red coral, rose and others are used by skilled practitioners in balanced, synergistic combinations to help relieve hot flashes, libido problems, irritability, mood swings and other menopausal symptoms.

Hormonal Help from Plants--It's Not Just Soy!

Diet also plays a key role in balancing hormones during and after menopause. It is well known that Japanese women rarely experience hot flashes, probably because their diet contains large amounts of soy, a food rich in certain plant estrogens called "isoflavones." Soy products are not the only source of plant estrogens, however. Another equally healthful source of phytoestrogens are "lignans," compounds found in a variety of whole foods including grains and cereals, dried beans and lentils, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and peanuts, vegetables such as asparagus, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic and broccoli and fruits such as pears, plums and strawberries.

Common herbs and spices such as thyme oregano, nutmeg, turmeric and licorice also have estrogenic properties. It turns out that if you simply eat a varied diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dried beans you will be ingesting a rich phytoestrogen feast in your daily cuisine! Variety and moderation are important because just as too much estrogen is unhealthy after menopause, too much phytoestrogen may also be dangerous. This danger can be avoided by getting your phytoestrogens naturally from a variety of whole foods, rather than from supplements or concentrated tablets.

More serious symptoms, such as frequent hot flashes, continual sleep disturbance, and moderate to severe mood swings, are signs of deeper imbalances that, if left untreated, will persist to set the stage for later disease. For these more troublesome symptoms to manifest, the tissues of your body├▒your bones, muscles, fat, organs, skin, and blood├▒must be disturbed in some way. Ayurveda describes that stubborn symptoms are usually due to the buildup of wastes and toxins, referred to as "ama," in your body's tissues.

For example, hot flashes that won't go away despite herbs, diet, exercise, and perhaps even HRT usually represent a problem with ama. One of my Ayurvedic mentors explained it this way: When your body's channels are clogged with wastes, the heat from metabolism builds up in your tissues. Hot flashes result from sudden surges in blood flow as the body tries to clear the channels and dissipate the heat buildup quickly.

A similar phenomenon occurs when you have a heater set on high in an overheated room with all the windows and doors closed. To cool down the room, first you must turn down the heater (see Tips for P-Type above) but you also need to throw open the windows and doors (as in removing the ama) so the heat can flow out.

read more here: http://www.mapi.com/en/self_care/menopause.html

and at my favourite source of medical information on menopause:

http://www.womentowomen.com/menopause/ayurvedictreatmentformenopause.aspx

here's wishing you good health,
musemother

6 comments:

Mind Body Shop said...

Thanks for the info :D

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Joan said...

Menopause occurs after 51 years of age or sometimes it can even occur before 40. During menopause, one has to suffer from moodiness, gets irritated fast etc. Also periods are skipped, so they feel more annoying. One can go for some medication provided by doctors.

jacqueline said...

I second the recommendation for Women to Women! Someone I know who is an Ayurvedic practitioner actually recommends that article to all of her female clients ("of a certain age") as the best intro to how ayurveda can help during perimenopause/menopause. Glad to see someone else appreciates it, too!

Ayurveda and menopause

menopause hot flashes said...

For some women being to menopause stage is a nightmare because there are lots of different symptoms that they can experience. But this kind of post is really a big help for those women.

TaurenChieftain said...

The age that menopause will occur to a woman will most likely be in her late 40s or early 50s (45-55) and indicates the end of the fertile stage of a woman’s life. For more info feel free to check this What age does menopause start

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