How To Treat Dysmenorrhea With Ayurveda
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Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation is the most common gynecological symptom among females and is defined as the discomfort and cramping pain in the lower abdomen and lower back that happens before or during menstruation. This condition is so severe that it disturbs women's daily activity. The pain starts from the lower abdomen and radiates to the low back and the inner thighs. Due to Dysmenorrhea women can feel different kinds of pain, including sharp pain, throbbing pain, dull pain, nausea, burning, or shooting pain.
In Ayurveda, dysmenorrhoea is known as Kashta-Artava. Kashta means ‘pain’, Artava means ‘discharge from the vagina’. According to Ayurveda, aggravation of Vata and pitta dosha is the main cause of menstrual diseases. Aggravated Vata dosha is the cause of all types of pain in the body. Apana Vata (a subtype of Vata) which is responsible for normal regulation of menstruation gets disturbed due to some causative factors and Vata gets vitiated. This causes painful menstruation.
Painful menstruation or Dysmenorrhea is classified into two categories:
- Primary Dysmenorrhea
Primary dysmenorrhoea is painful menstruation with no detectable organic disease and is more common in adolescent women and disappears as one grows into adulthood. It may start with the onset of a period but rarely persists beyond 48 hours after the onset of menstruation.
- Secondary dysmenorrhoea
Secondary dysmenorrhoea is usually caused in women who have had painless periods before. The pain tends to get worse over time and it often lasts longer than normal menstrual cramps. It is typically caused by a gynecologic disorder such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, or fibroids, or by congenital anomalies of the pelvic reproductive organs.
Painful menstruation can be classified into 2 types. One is Primary Dysmenorrhea and another one is Secondary dysmenorrhoea.
The main symptoms of Dysmenorrhea include:
- Dull, constant ache in the lower abdomen.
- Throbbing or cramping pain.
- Pain that radiates to the lower back and thighs.
According to Ayurveda, Apana Vata is the main cause of Painful menstruation. This Dosha is governing the flow of menstrual blood out of the body. Apana Vata is situated on the pelvic floor and its movement is downward and outward. Due to various reasons when the Apana Vata movement is in the opposite direction, it causes severe pain and cramping.
The other causes of Apana Vata disturbance are:
- Lack of physical exercise.
- Use of more oily spicy and salty food.
- Lack of personal hygiene.
- Poor digestion.
- Vata imbalances.
Dysmenorrhea can feature different kinds of pain, including sharp pain, throbbing pain, dull pain, nausea, burning, or shooting pain. When Apana Vata movement is in the opposite direction, it causes severe pain and cramping. In such conditions women had shown symptoms like Dull, constant ache in the lower abdomen, cramping pain, Pain in the lower back and thighs, Nausea, Dizziness, Diarrhoea, and Headache.
Most of the gynecological disorders occur as a result of the Vata Dosha. So the treatment aims to balance the Vata dosha. The management of dysmenorrhea involves the balance of Vata Dosha with the combination of therapies, herbs, and exercise and diet regimens.
Some of the therapies are explained below:
Panchakarma therapies are very effective for the management of acute and chronic menstrual pain. Some of the common Panchakarma procedures are pointed out below:
Abhyanga is a warm oil massage with Vata balancing herbs. An Abhyanga is an important therapy for Women’s reproductive health. By regular practice of Abhyanga, the cycles become regular with reduced period pain, a significant reduction in menstrual cramps, bloating, and overall discomfort. Ayurvedic massage leads to a free movement of Vata in the right direction, relieves the obstruction in the passage, and enhances the proper menstrual flow.
In Ayurveda, Vasti is called a medicated enema. A series of medicated oil, enemas, and decoction enemas were administered after the Ayurvedic massage and steam therapy. It is the most effective treatment to normalize the Apana Vata localized in the abdomen by entering the srotas (channels) by removing the spasm.
- Uttar Basti
As per Ayurvedic Treatment Uttar Basti is a procedure of therapeutic herbs, which are administered inside the uterus. This helps to remove the blockages of channels and provides more nutrition to the uterus.
Virechana is called therapeutic purgation in Ayurveda. If it is Chronic menstrual pain Virechana treatment is also suggested to balance dosha. This treatment is the administration of purgative substances for the cleansing of Pitta through the lower pathways. It is also a part of panchakarma treatment.
According to Ayurveda, all gynecologic disorders, including painful menstruation, are caused by a Vata dosha imbalance, which can be alleviated by a complete dosha cleanse. Abhyanga, Vasti, Uttar Basti, and Virechana are all capable of accomplishing this.
Ayurveda offers enough rest along with proper diet and lifestyle modifications to cure the symptoms of Dysmenorrhea. Some of them are as follow:
- Drinking a lot of water during your periods can help prevent dehydration and give relief in pain. .
- Follow a healthy balanced diet. Eating warm and fresh foods.
- Consume fresh fruits like plums, dark grapes, apples, pomegranates.
- Include more leafy vegetables in your food.
- Take food in 5-6 small meals.
- Regular use of ginger, cumin seeds, and fenugreek in food preparations.
- Must avoid high fat and sugar.
- Taking supplements like calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, B6, B12.
The lifestyle changes prescribed by Ayurveda are as follow:
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes daily except during your periods.
- Practice yoga asanas like Ushtrasana, Bhadrasana, Gomukhasana, and Vajrasana.They have pain- relieving effects.
- Ensuring sound sleep of at least 6-8 hours.
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol.
- Reducing caffeine.
By following a healthy diet and lifestyle changes can prevent the symptoms of Dysmenorrhea.
Ayurveda prescribes some of the home remedies to cure Dysmenorrhea. They are as follow:
- Always consume food that is warm and easy to digest.
- Drink 6-8 glasses of warm water daily.
- Massage the lower abdomen, thigh with war sesame oil or castor oil and apply hot bag fomentation. Avoid Vata increasing factors such as traveling, stress, drinking caffeine, etc. a few days before menstruation.
- Intake of dark chocolate after meals has proven to relieve menstrual cramps.
- Intake 1 glass of parsley juice twice every day.
- Drink cinnamon tea with honey during menstruation.
- Grate a small piece of ginger into warm water.
- Take 2-3 garlic cloves in the early morning.
- Boil around 1 tsp. of sesame seeds in 60 ml of water and drink every morning a few days before menstruation.
- Intake of 5 ml of castor oil in warm milk provides immediate relief from menstrual cramps. .
- Prepare a dessert with sesame seeds, cumin seeds mixed with jaggery and ghee and make small balls out of it. Consume it frequently.
Here are seven Ayurvedic herbs to cure Dysmenorrhea.
- Bhutakesi (Corydalis Govaniana)
This medicinal herb is a member of the bleeding-heart family. It is commonly used for relief in period cramps. Add 1 to 2 grams of the powder in a cup of boiling water, strain, add honey, and drink twice a day.
- Kachur (Curcuma Zedoaria)
This is another Ayurvedic herb used for the treatment of period cramps. Take 1 to 3 grams of the herb with lukewarm water, or you can also get capsules of 300 to 450 mg.
- Ajwain (Carom Seeds)
In every Indian Kitchen we can see Ajwain. It is very effective to cure muscular and abdominal cramps. Add 2 generous pinches of Ajwain in 2 cups of water and boil it until it reduces to half. Strain adds honey and drinks two to three times a day. You can also roast a few carom seeds and consume them with milk when there is unbearable pain.
- Methi seeds (Fenugreek)
Another common kitchen herb that helps relieve period pain is Methi. Soak a teaspoon of Methi in a glass or normal water overnight. Next morning, drink it whole with the seeds or you may choose to strain the seeds out. Mix a small pinch of black salt if you wish.
- Gud (Jaggery)
Jaggery has Vata pacifying properties. Instead of sugar use jaggery at least 3 to 5 days before you anticipate your period cycle to begin.
- Ghritkumari (Aloe Vera)
Aloe Vera is considered a woman’s best friend. It is the best herb to heal pain during period cramps. Drink a glass of aloe vera juice on an empty stomach every morning and you will feel an improvement in your health. Drinking aloe vera juice mixed with one teaspoon of honey at least two to three times a day will help in easing the heavy blood flow.
- Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is an effective remedy to cure painful menstruation. Sesame oil is rich in linoleic acid and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Massage your lower abdomen with sesame oil with gentle downward strokes. It is better if you warm the oil and then apply a little warmth with a hot water bag over a light blanket.
Bhutakesi, Kachur, Ajwain, Methi seeds, Jaggery, Aloe Vera, and sesame oil are some herbs that can help with Dysmenorrhea.
All the information about Dysmenorrhea was obtained from different Ayurvedic books. Kindly get the advice of your Ayurvedic doctor before using any herbs or herbal treatments.