Ayurveda and Menopause / Peri-Menopause
by Dr. Mary Jo Cravatta
In my practice in Northern California / Grass Valley, CA, I have had the opportunity to see many peri-menopausal and post-menopausal women. In this article, you will find information explaining an Ayurvedic understanding of the sex hormones.
Every woman will respond differently as she goes through the transition of Menopause. We mostly hear of the difficult problems that women may have – but there is definitely the possibility that this transition can be very smooth and hardly noticeable. This all depends on whether her Doshas are balanced or not balanced. Women with Pitta predominant body type will be more prone to hormone problems. This is due to the fact that Ranjaka Pitta – the Pitta in the Liver – has a very large impact on sex hormones. But, any body type can be affected. It is ideal that a woman prepares for at least several years before menopause to bring balance to Ranjaka Pitta.
A Ranjaka Pitta imbalance will cause an over active Liver which will “burn” the hormones. The first to be affected is usually Progesterone. Many peri-menopausal women have problems due to this. A Ranjaka Pitta imbalance may be caused by a wide variety of things: eating Pitta aggravating foods, drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, any drugs – OTC, prescription, etc as they need to be processed by the Liver, holding on to fiery Pitta emotions such as irritation, impatience, anger, envy, dis-satisfaction, etc,
Subdoshas and Dhatus that are involved:
Vata – Subdoshas – Prana Vata and Apana Vata Dhatu – Asthi
Pitta – Subdoshas – Ranjaka Pitta and Sadhaka Pitta
Kapha – Kledhaka Kapha, Bodhaka Kapha Dhatu – Meda
In order to have a more complete understanding of the information, you may wish to read my Introduction to Ayurveda Article
Is a precursor of other sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone
Is a natural diuretic, Is a natural antidepressant,
Helps thyroid hormone action, restores sex drive, helps to normalize blood sugar levels,
Builds bone and is protective against osteoporosis, Is a precursor of cortisone (adrenal )
Progesterone has a balancing effect on Estrogen Protects against fibrocystic breasts,
Symptoms of Low Progesterone
Headaches, low libido, anxiety, swollen breast, moodiness, fuzzy thinking, depression,
food cravings, irritability, PMS symptoms
Estrogen – Estrone, Estradiol, Estriol
There are different areas of the body where estrogen is produced: ovaries, fat cells, adrenal glands, skin cells, breast tissue, etc.
Estrogen is beneficial to the vagina, cervix, and vulva. Decrease estrogen can lead to vaginal dryness and atrophy and predispose a woman to vaginitis and cystitis
Estrogen dominance can occur during peri-menopause and can be dangerous for women- Estrogen promotes cell growth
Phyto Estrogens are a safe, effective way to address low Estrogen. Many people confuse Plant or Phyto Estrogens with the adverse affects of Human, Animal, or Synthetic Estrogen. Some women may not take the plant based Estrogens for this reason. Human and Animal based Estrogens are composed of Cholesterol. Plant based Estrogens DO NOT contain Cholesterol. That do not hold the same danger as the human or animal based Estrogens may have. They also assist in balancing cholesterol and maintaining bone density. The main Phyto Estrogen in Ayurveda is Shatavari. The main Phyto Progesterone in Ayurveda is Vidari Kanda.
And, many will also mistakenly believe that men or boys should not take Plant / Phyto Estrogens. This is another sad mistake. They will not adversely affect a growing boy. And, they are very beneficial in assisting a man”s prostate in staying healthy.
Symptoms of Low Estrogen
Hot flashes, shortness of breath and palpitations, night sweats, sleep disorders, insomnia, vaginal dryness, dry hair, hair loss, anxiety, mood swings, headaches, depression, memory loss, frequent urinary tract infections
Emotional Affects of Decreased Sex Hormones:
Vata Emotions – Mood swings, fear, anxiety, depression
Pitta Emotions – Anger, irritability, saddness, controlling, stubborn
Kapha Emotions – Lethargy, attachments, depression
Shaktiveda Ayurvedic Herbal Products have several different formulas to address hormonal concerns. There is a line of products for both the menstruating woman and the Post-Menopausal woman.
Luna Rejuv Line of Ayurvedic Herbal Products – designed for Peri and Post Menopausal Women
Luna Rejuv Churna
Luna Rejuv Nasya Oil
Luna Support Vaginal Oil
These may be ordered by sending us an email or by phoning. They are not currently listed on the Product Page.
Shaktiveda Yoga (Workshops, Yoga Classes, Yoga DVDs)
Experience the Joy that can be experienced by the Shaktiveda Ayurveda approach to health and well being in our Grass Valley office. If you are not in Northern California, you may have your consultation by either phone or by Skype.