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Menstrual Difficulties

CATEGORY: Women's Health

Source: Ayurvedic Healing for Women (Chapter 9: Premenstrual and Menstrual Difficulties)
Author: Atreya

    According to Ayurveda, all menstrual difficulties are related in some way to an imbalance in the vata dosha.  Most originate from a disruption in the function of vata.  All treatments should begin with an assessment of the state of the vata humor in the body.

    The tongue provides a good indication of the state of vata in the body generally and in the internal organs especially.  The constitution of the person should be determined first.  The tongue can give indications of constitution as explained earlier (see page 17).  Disturbed vata may appear on the tongue as roughness, cracks, pimples, and brownish coatings.  If the tongue trembles, this may also indicate an imbalance in vata.

    Other indications in the body are intestinal gas, bloating, migrating pain, irregularity in digestion or menstruation, twitching body parts, nervous disorders, internal or external dryness, brittle hair, dull skin or hair, sharp pains, and any mental agitation such as stress or nervousness.  If the mind is unable to stay focused, this indicates an imbalance of vata.  If the person is talking excessively or too fast, it is also indicative of a vata nature or imbalanced vata.

    Next, see if any other humor is involved in the symptoms or root cause.  Then a history should be noted: what, where, how long, when in the cycle, and the resulting feeling or symptom that comes with it.  Write this information down and clarify the whole situation as this will help you to establish a therapeutic approach.  Remember, even a slight discomfort or mood swing is indicative of an imbalance in Ayurveda and should be remedied as soon as possible.

    Next, address the tissue levels and symptoms involved.  This can help to further pinpoint a treatment approach (see chapter 3).  Finally, consider the organs involved in the symptoms or root causes.  The health of the organs comes form the proper digestion and development of the tissue levels.  If this process is disturbed, the organs can malfunction.  Other determining factors include those stemming from ignorance, or what we might call bad choices, like drinking too much alcohol or too many soft drinks.  These influences can disrupt organ function, and can also imbalance the tissues and systems associated with them.  Hence, the focus on individual organs is the last consideration, but is still important.

    At this point, it is worth mentioning the effect of unsatisfying sexual relationships.  Tension around sexual intercourse is one important cause of endocrine disturbance.

    Now you are ready to address the symptoms.  You will notice that a number of herbs are used over and over to treat the different symptoms of premenstrual problems: Angelica, Pennyroyal, Agnus Castus, Gotu Kola, Fenugreek, Cumin, Ginger, Fennel, and Cinnamon.  These main combinations have proven effective over time in treating all kinds of troubles associated with menstruation and premenstrual difficulties.  Small changes are made here and there to adjust the formulas to fit the different constitutional types and specific problems more accurately.