Who can deny the importance of Women’s health and immunity for a healthy society? Being exposed to different social, biological and physical conditions, women ignore their health due to family responsibilities, sedentary life styles, stress due to career/ day to day activities and lack of awareness – all of these factors affect their health & immunity.
As per Ayurveda good health is defined as “approach that restores & balances Vata, Pitta & Kapha”. Vitiation of these doshas disturbs body rhythm results in disease and immunity related problems. Ayurvedic treatments offer immense benefits in gynaecological disorders and better immunity.
Ayuveda elaborates the sequential process of nutrition (Ahar Ras) that is derived from the digested food we eat. It is achieved in the form of sequential step-wise flow starting from utilization of nourishment by Dhatwagni for nourishment of different tissues of the body namely Ras dhatu, Rakta dhatu & so on. During the process when ahar ras after nourishing ras dhatu moves to rakta dhatu Artav (Menstrual blood) & Stanya (breast milk) are formed as by products. Artav moves to uterus & gets eliminated during menstrual flow.
Well-nourished tissues supported by regular exercise/ yoga, meditation (for mental health) and proper sleep increases Ojas (Vitality, radiance & Vigour) that improves digestion, physical strength, mood, spiritual inclination – leading to improvement of immunity in the Body. The above flow chart shows the relationship of food that we eat with the flow of nutrition in the body and other lifestyles with the overall well-being, health and immunity.
Women are more vulnerable to a wider range of health problems – which is exhibited in the form of changes in their bodies from menarche (beginning of the menstrual cycle) to menopausal stage (ending phase of the menstrual cycle) of their life. During these stages of life female hormones play key role in emotional & physiological changes. Ritu chakra (menstrual cycle) is considered to begin on the first day of a period. The average cycle is 28 days long,
Common Problems Faced by Women
Some of the common problems/ irregularities related to Menstrual cycle or Gynaecological disorders (Yonivyapad) which women faces are:
- Dysmenorrhea (kashtartava): Severe painful cramps occur during menstruation. As per Ayurveda its Apana vayu which regulates the movement of menstruation which gets disturbed due to some causative factors resulting in kasthartava.
- Menorrhagia (Asrigdara): It is menstrual periods with abnormally heavy or prolong bleeding leading to backache, pain in lower abdomen & weakness. Asrigdar happens due to vitiation of Vata and Pitta doshas
- Metrorrhagia (Rakta pradara): its irregular uterine bleeding between expected menstrual cycles is a sign of underlying disorders due to hormonal problems or problems with the uterus or other health conditions.
- Premenstrual syndrome(PMS): Symptoms include mood swings, tenderness in breast, fatigue, irritability depression
- PCOS/PCOD: PCOS- hormonal imbalance in reproductive age women where ovaries fail to release eggs regularly and develop follicles/ cysts. Symptoms include irregular or prolong menstrual periods, increase in male hormones, excessive hair growth, Acne, Weight gain, thinning of hair. Ayurveda consider it as Kapha disorders
- ANAEMIA (Pandu Rog) – condition caused by insufficient Red Blood Cells leading to breathlessness, tiredness, weakness, frequent giddiness, lethargy, fatigue, headaches.
- DEPRESSION (avasd rog) – condition caused by lowering of person’s mood and loss of interact in any activity leading to low self-esteem and low confidence levels.
- Female infertility (bandhyatava): not able to get pregnant or having miscarriages. Factors for Infertility may include ovarian factors, tubal factors, age-related factors, uterine problems, PCOS, endometriosis etc.
- Menopause (Rajonivrutti): It is a natural biological transition, which begin between 45yrs -55yrs of age. It is the absence of menopause for continuous 12months, Symptoms includes hot flushes, vaginal discharge and dryness, mood swings, headaches etc. During Rajonivrutti Vata dosha get aggravated leading to imbalance of Vata pitta & Kapha dosha gradually leading to dhatu shaya( decline in body tissue masses)
- Leucorrhoea (Shweta pradara): It is due to the imbalance of vaginal microflora, which results in the infection leads to thick whitish or yellowish discharge.
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): infection of any part of urinary system causing pelvic pain, increased urge of urination, pain during urination, blood in urine.
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Impact of Ahar Vihar Dincharya(Lifestyle)
Ayurveda has prescribed a well-planned daily routine (Din Charya) for achieving good health and immunity
- Rise early morning, clean your senses – eyes, ears, teeth & tounge; Evacuate bowel& bladder (can drink luke warm water to clear toxins from your gut), Regular Vyayam (Exercise), Abhyang (oil massage), bathing, meditation for mental health; eat light breakfast, follow your work or study.
- Lunch should proper (in the right quantity) suiting your body needs and body type (prakriti) – as the digestive fire is high during the day.
- Dinner should be light followed by a brief walk. Principle of “Early to bed” is strongly recommended – avoid using electronic gadgets/ mobile phones after dinner.
During menstruation, the diet pattern and treatment should also be followed as per the Dosha affected:
Imbalance in Vata can cause anxiety, disturbed sleep and constipation with occasional pain in the lower back or around hip. To balance Vata, soft warm food with healthy fats is recommended. Spicy, bitter, cold, dry food and caffeine need to be avoided. Rice, wheat, well-cooked vegetables should be taken while sweet fruits banana, grapes melons berries etc. are good. Hot water bottles (for the heating effect) need to be used for any cramping.
During cycle pitta imbalance cause heavy bleeding and a feeling of heat around the cycle. Mood swings, anger, irritability, strong cravings can be felt. Other problems include swelling in the body, headache, tenderness in breasts, acne etc. To overcome these issues – pitta pacifying diet and lifestyle is recommended Mindful practices like meditation is also good – cold food, hot spicy sour food items are forbidden. Milk, butter, ghee in moderate quantity are considered good. Avoid sour curd/ cream/ cheese.
During cycle imbalance of kapha patients suffer from extreme feeling of heaviness. Menstrual blood in such cases may be heavier due to excessive mucous formation. Such patients are prone to yeast infections or excessive itching. Sometimes they experience depression or emotional eating. In Ayurveda a kapha pacifying diet is recommended for the entire month – that mainly focuses on warm light food intake. Digestive spices can be added in food but excess salt to be avoided. To reduce kapha increasing qualities in hot milk with pinch of ginger/ turmeric gives good results. Reduce nuts, avoid excess of rice/ wheat on the other hand barley / millet should be eaten instead.
According to Ayurveda health is not freedom from disease but it’s a State of physical, mental & spiritual balance, which can be achieved by taking appropriate food intake, discipline, fitness regime and lifestyle as discussed above. Ayurveda the holistic system of health has been practiced since ancient times and its health benefits are scientifically proven now using principles of modern clinical trials. Ayurveda is extremely effective in offering “root cause remedies” and “overall health benefits” to all – including women health issues and boosting their immunity.
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