What is Amenorrhea?
The term amenorrhea means the absence of menstruation. In this article, we’ll be focusing on how Ayurvedic treatments and remedies can help in managing amenorrhea.
The term is used to characterize the absence of a menstrual periods/cycle (for 2-3 consecutive months) in women and adolescent girls.1
Types And Causes Of Amenorrhea
Primary Amenorrhea – This is when menstruation doesn’t start by the age of 14 years.
Some of the possible causes of primary amenorrhea can be chromosomal or genetic abnormalities like Turner syndrome.
It can also occur due to problems in the brain’s hypothalamus or pituitary gland. These problems can cause an imbalance in hormones which prevent the occurrence of periods.1
Secondary Amenorrhea – This is when menstruation is absent for six months or more in someone with an otherwise regular menstrual pattern.
Secondary amenorrhea is further divided into two subtypes depending on the causes — physiological causes and pathological causes.
Physiological causes of secondary amenorrhea can be pregnancy, lactation period, and post-menopause.
Pathological causes of secondary amenorrhea can be uterine infections, endometritis, pituitary gland dysfunction, ovarian problems, and others.1
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea – In hypothalamic amenorrhea, the hypothalamus, a gland which regulates the body’s metabolic processes, slows or stop releasing GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) hormone.
This hormone is responsible for initiating the menstrual cycle1. This can be caused due to low caloric/fat intake, emotional stress, strenuous exercise, and others.
Ayurvedic scholar Sushruta described secondary amenorrhea as nastratava (absence of menstruation).
Considering the Ayurvedic perspective on amenorrhea, the causes can be attributed to Pitta Kasa (decrease in pitta dosha) and increase of Kapha and Vata doshas.
Ayurvedic Treatments And Remedies For Amenorrhea
In the context of secondary amenorrhea, remedies and treatments should involve measures to increase Pitta and to decrease Vata and Kapha doshas like the following.
- Undergoing appropriate panchakarma therapies based on your prakriti (body constitution).
- Administering herbal medication with tiktha (bitter) and katu (pungent) rasa (taste).
- Samshamana (palliative) care through herbal medication such as varanadi kashayam, rajopravartini vati, kumaryasavam, jirakasristam2
Another Ayurvedic procedure that is recommended for amenorrhea is vasti/basti (medicated enema), which can be administered in rajo nasha (absence of menstruation)2
Basti For Amenorrhea
Vasti (medicated enema) can be divided into two types based on the route which is administered.
- Enema done via the anorectal route (anuvasa vasti and astapana basti)
- Enema done via other routes like mutramarga (urinary tract).2
The herbs used in basti therapy can be tailored to manage a wide variety of specific symptoms. They can also be used to repair and build and nourish the tissue.
In the case of amenorrhea, the classical Ayurvedic medical text Astanga Hridaya mentions the following.
- Anuvasa vasti (oil-based medical enema), astapana vasti (decoction, quatha enema) based), and uttara basti (the type of vasti used specifically for male and female infertility).
- You can refer to Ayurvedic texts to know more about the different types of basti procedures and their benefits.
- Research studies have shown that holistic health approaches are helpful in managing amenorrhea.3
Ayurvedic Dietary Guidelines For Amenorrhea4
- Madhura (sweet in taste).
- Ushna (hot in potency)
- Increases Pitta dosha
- It contains iron, an important mineral for initiating menstruation.
- Rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and devoid of cholesterol.
- They can be consumed in sweet or savory taste combinations.
- Its kashya (astringent) in taste
- its potency is ushna, hot
- It increases Pitta dosha
- It reduces Vata dosha
- It contains vitamins, proteins, and iron.
- Horse gram soup or sprouts can be incorporated into your daily diet
- Sweet, bitter taste.
- Hot in potency
- Pacifies Vata dosha
- You can fry the seeds and consume it two times a day.
- Sesame seeds help in inducing uterine contractions.
- Cumin seeds are generally rich in iron.
- Young women need iron to initiate menstruation as well as to replace blood loss during menstruation
- Iron deficiency is one of the common nutrient deficiencies which can affect the menstruation cycle
- Ginger is very useful in regulating menstrual flow.
- Consuming ginger in the form of juice may be an excellent home remedy for dealing with irregular periods.
- Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, potassium, biotin, and copper.
- You can soak the almonds in water overnight and consume it later day for better reproductive health.
- Dadima is known to pacify all three doshas.
- Pomegranate has the potential to thin blood and because of this property, consuming pomegranates may help you lessen blood clots during the menstruation.
- You can consume the pomegranate fruit as well as its juice.
Kandakari/Solanum virginianum L.
- It is katu in taste
- Its potency is hot.
- Seeds of kandakari may be used in treating amenorrhea and irregular periods.
Foods to be avoided to reduce the occurrence of amenorrhea are potatoes, jack fruit, cold foods/drinks like ice creams, sodas, ready-to-eat frozen foods.
Please consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the procedures, dietary guidelines, or remedies for amenorrhea mentioned in this article. Consult your primary healthcare provider if you have been irregular.
- What causes amenorrhea? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/amenorrhea/conditioninfo/causes#f2
- Ashtanga Hridaya by Vagbhata 9th edition by Varanasi Chaukambha Orientalia, Sutrastana Chapter 19.
- B. Yazbek, J. Tezoto, F. Cassas, and E. Rodrigues, Plants used during maternity, menstrual cycle and other women’s health conditions among Brazilian cultures, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 179, (310), (2016
- Nishteswar, K. (2016, July 13). Ayurvedic Concept of Food and Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/ayurvedic-concept-of-food-and-nutrition-2155-9600-1000530.php?aid=76428