The Post / 3 December 2019, 2:52pm / Dr Tamlyn Govender
LIFESTYLE - IN Ayurveda, menopause is termed Rajonivrutti - “Raj” means menstruation and “nivrutti” means ending.
Thus, it is a permanent cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months, due to a loss of ovarian follicular activity.
It is a common misconception that menopause is a disease, but that is not the case.
It is rather a normal transitional and physiological phenomenon that marks the end of the reproductive life.
This can occur between the ages of 45 and 55 years.
The symptoms can include hot flushes, sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, weight gain, anaemia, vaginal dryness and itching.
Most women will resort to hormone replacement therapy to manage their symptoms and although this is a quick solution, the long-term side effects can be disputed.
* Ayurveda has mentioned some preventative measures in terms of herbs, diet and lifestyle that have scientifically proven to be effective:
Proper timely meals and an adequate amount of rest: This counteracts Vata (which governs all movement in the mind and body). Vata is the primary factor in menopause. Stick to three regular meals. Avoid skipping meals and make sure you have seven to eight hours of sleep. Include wheat, mung beans, ghee, nuts, milk, fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet.
Daily massage with Ayurvedic medicated oil: This counteracts the effects of old age, fatigue and exhaustion. It improves eyesight, complexion and promotes longevity and good sleep. The age-old proverb in Ayurveda says that if the body of an individual is oleated (properly massaged) through oil massage, then the person will live for a long time - without the decay of disease. It helps prevent and arrest the ageing process by rejuvenation.
Induce sweating by steaming: This can be done in the shower or with a simple steam machine. Another form of inducing sweat is to get mild exposure to the sun, especially in the mornings. This is great for increasing vitamin D and preventing complications such as osteoporosis. It also improves your appetite and circulation, and is beneficial for the skin and relieves joint stiffness and pain.
* Consult a qualified Ayurvedic physician to see which herbs and/or formulations will be suitable for you.
Ayurveda has a range of herbs that:
Promote strength in the body such as Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).
Postpones old age and promotes youth such as Amalaki (Phyllanthus embillica), Jeevanti (Leptadenia Reticulata) and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), etc.
Supplements with phytoestrogenic herbs such as Shatavari, Shatapushpa (Pimpinella anisum) and Guduchi. When used in a proper way, these are beneficial in breast cancer, endometrial cancer and in the management of menopause. These are also useful in reducing the menopausal signs and symptoms, like hot flushes, vaginitis, anxiety and osteoporosis.
* Yoga, meditation and pranayama (alternate nostril breathing to balance energy and stabilises moods): This works on the psychosomatic effects of menopause. Consider doing Surya Namskaram (salute to the sun/sun salutation yoga exercise) and/or Bhramari Pranayam (the humming bee breathing practice that soothes the nervous system).
Please consult an Ayurvedic physician before taking any prescribed medication.
Govender is registered with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa to practise Ayurveda in the country. Her Ayurvedic practice is located in Pretoria East. For more information, visit doctortamlyn.com or e-mail [email protected]m