Menstruation is a normal process in every woman’s life, but it becomes horrible when it causes severe pain and discomfort that can significantly interfere with everyday activities for several days, every month. More than 75% of women suffer from dysmenorrhea around the world at some point in their life.
Ayurveda describes the condition in Sanskrit language as ‘Kasht-artava’ (Painful-Menstruation) or ‘Udavartiniyonivyapad’ that co-relates all types of dysmenorrhea.
Causes of Dysmenorrhea according to modern allopathic medicine:
Modern medical science hypothetically proposes that dysmenorrhea is called “primary dysmenorrhea” when no specific pelvic pathology exists. It is believed that primary dysmenorrhea occurs when hormone-like substances called “prostaglandins”produced by uterine tissue, trigger strong muscular contractions in the uterus during menstruation causing one or more of the above symptoms.
Secondary dysmenorrhea is when the pain is caused by an underlying gynaecological problem like ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOD), uterine fibroids, adenomyoma, endometriosis, leucorrhoea etc.
Causes of Dysmenorrhea according to Ayurveda:
Factors that are responsible for dysmenorrhoea or which aggravate the condition are:
Over-eating, excessive stress, sedentary lifestyle, sleeping during day time, over intake of alcohol/tea/caffeine/fizzy drinks and other stimulants, increased intake of sour/salty/spicy tastes. Excessive intake of fermented food like breads, yogurt and other bakery products. Excessive intake of the south Indian dishes like idli/dosa, over indulgence in meat and sea food.
Factors responsible for dysmenorrhoea or which aggravate this condition include: repeated abortions, D&C procedures (dilatation and curettage of the cervix and uterus), and psychological conditions such as depression, feeling low, anger and anxiety. Curbing natural urges of urination, excretion, flatulence, sleep, hunger, thirst, etc.
One or many symptoms from the list can be present in a woman suffering from Dysmenorrhea.
- Stomach cramps
- Backache -sometimes radiating pain to the back of legs
- Breast tenderness
- Painful thighs
- Nausea & vomitting
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Dizziness & low energy
- Mood fluctuations – either irritation/ anger or getting emotional
- Hypersensitivity to sound/light/smell and touch
- Excessive loss of blood (repeatedly may lead to anaemia, numbness in hands /feet, fatigue, heart palpitations, light-headedness, also fainting in severe conditions, etc.
Ayurveda suggests to exactly pin point the reasons for any disorder and stop them slowly or immediately. It recommends dietary and lifestyle changes which restrict the generation of toxic plasma, blood, fat and muscle tissues in the body.
Yoga postures such as sun salutations, triangle pose, cat camel pose etc. and breathing techniques such as kapalbhanti – fast bellowing of the stomach etc. are very helpful if done on a daily basis for 20-30 minutes altogether.
Depending on your individual body constitution, severity of symptoms, climatic conditions, diet and lifestyle habits, and other health issues a permutation and combination of Aloe vera, Saraca ashoka-Ashoka, Boerhavia diffusa -Punarnava, Trebualis teristata-gokhur, Tinospora cordifolio-Guduchi, Curcuma longa-Haridra, Hemidesmus indicus- Sariva, Asparagus racemocea-Shatavari, Rubia cordifolia–Manjishtha, etc is helpful to detoxify the blood and gynaecological system , also helping at the same time to produce optimum body tissues . Thus, steadily diminishing all the symptoms before and during periods.
Rejuvenating herbs are then prescribed to tone the reproductive system to make it as healthy as possible.
A combination of the above Ayurvedic herbal remedies is prescribed by the Ayurvedic physician depending on your body constitution, climatic conditions and level of pathology in your body.
However if dysmenorrhea has been there for several years and severe, or associated with other gynaecological disorders like uterine fibroids,ovarian cysts etc your body might need a complete physical detoxification called as Panchakarma in Ayurveda. Here medicated purgation and medicated herbal enemas would be the preferable choice of the Ayurvedic physician, as it is natural and easy for the body to detoxify the gynaecological system from the lower channels. This is followed by a dose of herbal remedies from 3-6 months.
Ayurvedic Body treatments:
Shirodhara(third eye theraphy), Abhyanga(full body massage), Mardana(deep tissue massage), Pindsweda(hot poultice massage), Shiroabhyanga(head massage) etc. are very effective if taken in a series of 7 -21 therapies continuously.