Ayurvedic remedies herbs oil massage and yoga are effective for menstrual pain

Menstruation is a part of the normal process of reproductive life in women. But due to today’s sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, dysmenorrhoea or menstrual pain is becoming a problem for women. It not only hampers their day to day activities, but also makes it difficult to participate in school/office activities. Surveys have shown that about 50% of all women experience some degree of painful menstruation. 


Causes of dysmenorrhea


Dysmenorrhea is felt in the lower abdomen and lower back. Menstrual pain is caused by tightening in the uterus by a chemical called prostaglandin. When the uterus contracts strongly, it presses against other blood vessels, cutting off the supply of oxygen to the muscle tissue of the uterus. Pain is felt when the muscle loses supply of oxygen.


Ayurvedic perspective on dysmenorrhea


According to Ayurveda, all gynecologic disorders including painful menstruation happen due to imbalance in Vata dosha, which can be pacified by a complete cleansing of the doshas. This can be done by oleation or snehana (the use of medicated oils, either internally or externally) and sudation or swedana (a process in which an individual is subjected to therapeutic sweating), and purification therapies like panchakarma.


Ayurvedic remedies for menstrual pain


For menstrual pain relief, Ayurveda suggests yoga, dietary, and lifestyle modifications. It also recommends some treatments like medicated enemas or basti, which means medicated oil or herbal decoction is administered through the anal route.


Virechana treatment is also suggested for menstrual pain relief if it is a chronic complaint. This treatment is the administration of purgative substances for the cleansing of Pitta through the lower pathways. However, basti and virechana are part of the panchakarma treatment.

Bhela Samhita, the classical Ayurvedic medical text, stated that castor oil with haritaki powder can be taken at night after food for menstrual pain relief. Abhayarishta (a haritaki-based Ayurvedic formulation) is also good for menstrual pain.


Diet and lifestyle recommendations


Drinking warm water: Ayurveda suggests drinking a lot of water during your periods can help prevent dehydration and give relief in pain. Water intake also helps to regulate the proper functioning of cells in the body.


Hot water baths and heating pad: Take hot water baths in menstrual days. Sip on warm liquids and avoid cold water during those five days. Also a heating pad or warm water bottle helps in relieving the pain. Applying heat on lower abdomen during periods relax contracting muscles in the uterus. Eating warm foods are advised.


Ginger, cumin, fenugreek: Regular use of ginger, cumin seeds, and fenugreek in cooking helps. Ginger and black pepper tea is relaxing. You can add a little honey to this for the taste. Ginger is known to reduce period pain because it lowers the levels of prostaglandins in a woman’s body. It also reduces the levels of prostaglandins, thereby reducing period pain. Ginger is also good for making irregular periods regular. Cumin, on the other hand, has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, and is beneficial for getting rid of menstrual cramps.


Turmeric and nutmeg: A little turmeric and nutmeg mixed with warm almond milk or regular milk and taken before going to bed helps. While turmeric has high anti-inflammatory and healing properties, nutmeg is a spasmodic spice. They together give relief in menstrual pain.


Yogasanas: Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes daily except during your periods. Yoga can relieve pain effectively as they improve tissue nourishment and blood and lymphatic circulation, thus reducing pain signalling lipid compound in menstrual days. Some yoga poses that help in reducing the severity of feminine conditions are Matsyasana (fish pose), Dhanurasana (bow pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose), Ustrasana (camel pose), Ardhamatstyendrasana (half fish pose), Paschimotasana (seated forward bend pose), Salabhasana (butterfly pose), Sarvangasana (shoulder bend pose), Padmasana (lotus pose), and Surya Namaskara (sun salutations).


Sesame oil massage: Massage with sesame oil is beneficial. Sesame oil rich in linoleic acid, and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. If you massage sesame oil on your lower abdomen when you are menstruating, it gives relief.


Herbal medicine: Herbal products like pycnogenol, fennel or combination products are known to have provided some relief from menstrual cramps. You can consult an Ayurvedic doctor on this.

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