Common reproductive health concerns in women; Turn to Ayurveda for solutions
Women are a perfect blend of charm, power, tenacity and daring. This current rapidly changing era requires them to go further and be even more active and strong to effectively manage work, home and various other spheres of life. On top of all this, they also have to endure and adapt to the physical, physiological, and psychological changes taking place in their bodies.
Menarche: factors involved in early menarche
Menarche is the occurrence of the first menstrual period, and it indicates the growth and sexual maturation of a woman. Generally, menarche occurs between the ages of 11 and 14. However, in recent times, the age at menarche has been decreasing, across the world, with countless cases of girls starting to menstruate as young as eight years old. This condition is called “early menarche”.
Women with early periods are more prone to heart disease, breast cancer, asthma, diabetes and obesity. They are also at increased risk for psychosocial distress such as eating disorders, depression, and early initiation of sexual activity. Although several factors contribute to early menarche, dietary factors play a crucial role, with fast food being at the top of the list. Fast foods and junk foods have high levels of fats and sugars, both of which are unhealthy and addictive. Parents of young girls can help them instill healthy eating habits by providing them with a healthy diet early on.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a collection of symptoms that affect a woman just before her period, encompassing a range of physical and psychological symptoms. General symptoms include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea, weight gain, breast tenderness, and acne breakouts.
Psychological symptoms include behavioral and emotional changes such as mood swings, irritability, anger, anxiety, depressive feelings, changes in appetite, and social withdrawal. PMS can also aggravate other pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma, migraine, and allergies. As with the first period, PMS can occur in girls who consume large amounts of junk food. It is also important in women with hypertension. Other addictive habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, and a diet high in salt, sugary foods, and caffeine also contribute to the incidence of PMS.
Importance of Diet and Lifestyle Changes in Treating Menstrual Irregularities
The regularity of menstrual cycles signifies the menstrual health of a woman. Menstrual cycle irregularities are associated with health problems such as weight gain, abdominal bloating, constipation, migraines, mood swings, and physical and mental fatigue.
Research concludes that diet and lifestyle play a crucial role in influencing the regularity of menstrual cycles. Therefore, women are advised to consume a healthy and balanced diet and incorporate physical activities and meditation into their daily routine. As stress is also a factor, women should be encouraged to share their concerns with close friends or to express their feelings in a personal journal to help relieve stress.
Maintenance of general well-being
Answers to questions about diet, lifestyle, sleep and self-discipline can still be found in the contemporary science of life, Ayurveda. The basic principle of Ayurveda, the science of life, is well-being. Various herbs, such as Ashoka, Lodhra, Kumari or Aloe Vera, Shatavari and Chandana can be very beneficial in relieving the discomfort that women face during upsets in menstrual cycles. It is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic doctor or gynecologist for well-researched formulations including these herbs.
This article is written by Dr. Jayashree B Keshav, Associate Managing Director – Scientific Publications (Pharmaceutical Division), Himalaya Wellness Company