AYURVEDA AND MENOPAUSE

A holistic treatment for menopause.

According to Ayurveda, a person’s health is based on their dosha — a balance of the world’s five elements (air, earth, space, water, and fire). A combination of each element results in three doshas (vatakaphapitta). These doshas are responsible for a person’s physiological, mental, and emotional health.

Every person is said to have a unique ratio of each dosha which defines their Ayurvedic constitution, a blueprint to achieve optimal health.

The perimenopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal stages of life are unique to each of us but universal to all women. We encourage you to view each stage as an opportunity for growth. The more intune you are with your body, the more nourishment, contentment, and balance you will experience.

Menopause is a combination of all three doshas of the woman’s body; below is a breakdown of menopausal symptoms for each dosha.

  • Vata – dry skin or mucous membranes (including the vagina), scanty bleeding during perimenopause, digestive discomfort and occasional constipation, trouble concentrating or sleeping, anxiousness, worry, fear, and bone loss
  • Pitta – hot flashes, irritability, heavy bleeding during perimenopause, skin discomfort and imbalances, anger, irritation, jealousy, criticism, competitiveness, feelings of excess heat in the body, and heart imbalances
  • Kapha – weight gain, feeling sad, unmotivated, greedy, decreased concentration due to dullness, and feeling bogged down

AYURVEDIC HOLISTIC TREATMENTS FOR MENOPAUSE

Ayurveda is a reliable alternative to conventional treatments for managing menopausal symptoms. This holistic approach involves herbs and minerals, diet, and exercise. The herbs are a safer option than synthetic hormones as they possess certain phytoestrogen (naturally occurring estrogen found in legumes), which connect with the body’s estrogen receptors, enabling hormones to function correctly. When the receptors are blocked by ama (toxic substances accumulated in the body), the hormones cannot work properly, and menopausal symptoms occur. The recommended herbs vary from person to person, depending on which dosha is most out of balance.

HOT FLASHES

Most of us going through menopause suffer from hot flashes; here are a few tips on correcting the imbalance in your body.

  • Breathing exercises – Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling Breath) can be used during a hot flash
  • Diet – reduce caffeine and alcohol intake and eat cooling pitta-balancing foods (i.e., sweet fruits, milk, sweet rice pudding, coconut, coconut juice, and milkshakes made with ripe mangoes and almonds or dates)
  • Weight control – extra weight can serve as an insulating layer, heating the body
  • Meditate – daily meditation and other ways of achieving mindfulness can help with hot flashes

SLEEP

Enjoy restorative sleep by following the above suggestions for hot flashes and some simple sleep routine tips.

  • Sync your circadian rhythm – you can read some pointers in a previous article we posted, “Sleeping with the Digital Enemy
  • Intake – Stop eating or drinking two hours before bedtime
  • Time in bed – prioritize eight hours of sleep and aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
  • Sleep sanctuary – make your bedroom cool (68 degrees); dark, quiet, and uncluttered

VAGINAL DRYNESS

Vaginal dryness results from high vata in the pelvis, as narrowing and shortening of the vagina and a loss of fat in the labia, accompany it. A few suggestions for avoiding dryness are below.

  • Hydration – begin each day with a tall glass of water and drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day 
  • Lubrication – counterbalance vaginal dryness and increase sexual function with chemical-free, natural lubricants and moisturizers (consider coconut oil or ghee as alternative options)

BONE HEALTH

As we age, we slowly lose bone mass, with the most significant bone loss occurring in the years around our very last period. Ayurveda teaches that dhara kala (colon membrane) is connected to dhara kala (the bones); hence, keeping your colon clean is essential to maintaining healthy bones.

  • Vitamin D – the most nourishing source is the sun when it interacts with your skin (try to go outside at non-peak times early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid burning your skin)
  • Bowel movements – Ayurveda encourages one to two bowel movements daily
  • Fiber – eat fruits and vegetables, especially high-fiber vegetables that are also a good source of calcium—such as leafy green vegetables 
  • Yoga – a simple yoga practice that focuses on opening the hips and strengthening the pelvis and core will root vata and activate the root of the boney tissue—the pelvis and sacrum

By caring deeply for your whole self and embracing the ancient Ayurvedic natural system of medicine, you are encouraged to trust your inner intelligence and enjoy the journey of menopause and every other phase of life.


RESOURCES + TOOLS

  • Discover your Ayurvedic body type with this quiz provided by Chopra.com.  
  • Consider a supplement like Women’s Natural Transition that has a blend of herbs nourishing and calming vata while simultaneously cooling pitta.
  • Increase Moisture – dryness is the quality that tends to become most excessive in the menopausal body.

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