Menopause is defined as the time when there is cessation of your menstrual cycle for 1 year. Menopause occurs due to a natural decline of reproductive hormones when women reach 45-55 years.
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
- Changes in periods – you may experience irregular periods with occasional spotting and sometimes less bleeding and sometimes more.
- Vaginal dryness – You may have a burning sensation in the vulva, itching due to dryness, frequent urge to urinate, and may also cause slight bleeding and pain during intercourse.
- Hot flashes – A sudden sensation of heat spreading all over the body sometimes only the upper portion, that can last for up to 10 minutes. These hot flashes can occur for 1-2 years following menopause.
- Night sweats – You may feel sweaty and flushed.There may be redness in face and neck.
- Sleep problems – You may find it difficult to fall asleep or you may wake up earlier and feel like sleeping again.
- Mood changes – Due to hormonal fluctuations you may experience irritability and depression.
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism – Due to hormonal fluctuation like hypothyroid, etc. you may put on weight.
- Changes in hair – Reduced oestrogen leads to hair loss and you may feel your hair is dry and brittle.
- Loss of fullness of breast and dry skin – This is caused by the depletion of collage and fatty tissue.
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) – You may be more prone to UTI.
- Decreased libido – You may lack interest in your sexual life due to vaginal dryness, slow or absent orgasmic response.
Ayurvedic Treatment and Home Remedies for Menopause
The following home remedies and medicines would help to balance the hormone level:
- Include higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids in diet. Flaxseeds are the best natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be taken either in roasted or powdered form.
- Consume moderate amount of soy products.
- Aloe vera is a multipurpose herb that is known for its moisturising property and helps to keep the female reproductive organs in good health. You can consume 30-40 ml of aloe vera juice daily.
- Add some sage leaves and coriander seeds to a pan of water, boil the water for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain out the solid part and separate the liquid part. Add sugar or jaggery to the liquid part and mix well. Drink this decoction once daily.
- Ayurveda recommends switching to a diet that pacifies Pitta. You should avoid acidic, greasy and spicy foods (eg. sour oranges, garlic, onion, tomato, chillies, grapefruit, white sugar and fried items). Instead focus on foods that can cool your system (eg. watermelon, fennel, fresh dairy products, leafy greens, cucumber, cilantro, legumes, coconut, and mint).
- Shatavari, an ayurvedic herb, is very effective in treating hot flashes, mood swings and irritability. Shatavari plus capsules (also contains Fenugreek): 1 cap twice daily.
During menopause, lack of ovarian hormone can result in severe calcium deficiency. For this reason, a larger than usual intake of calcium is helpful. Vitamin D is also essential for assimilation of calcium. Hence, enough amount of milk should be consumed daily.
- Sesame – daily chewing of a handful of white sesame in the morning provides at least 1200 mg of natural calcium.
- Consumption of 60 -90 ml of beetroot juice daily is found to be useful in menopausal disorders.
- Liquorice contains a natural female hormone, estrogen.To some degree, it can compensate for the diminished hormone. 1/2-1 tsp of this powder can be taken daily.
- Diet containing nuts, grains, vegetables, fruits, sprouted seeds, milk and cheese.
- Soak 10 almonds overnight in water. In the morning, peel them and blend with a cup of warm milk and drink regularly.
- Do regular exercises like brisk walking for 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week, to maintain appropriate body weight, and to prevent joint and cardiovascular disorders.
- Relax yourself by doing meditation and pranayama.
- Practice Kegel exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which helps to overcome urinary incontinence.