The menstrual cycle of a woman is a window to her overall reproductive health. The regular menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, however, our bodies don’t always work like clockworks. We might experience delays or irregularities in our periods once in while. As many as 30 percent women report having experienced irregular periods during their childbearing years.
However, if the periods become highly regular, it indicates that the body is going through severe hormonal imbalances. While it is normal to experience some discomfort and pain during periods, irregular periods need to be treated with caution as they could result from other health complications.
What are the symptoms of irregular periods or a disturbed menstrual cycle?
If the number of days between stopping and starting your period is significantly different each month, you have an irregular cycle. Here are a few things that you might experience as a result of irregular periods.
- You experience bleeding that is not a part of your natural periodic cycle.
- You get periods even after menopause.
- Your periods are longer or heavier than usual
- You get periods even after menopause.
- You have your period more often than once in 21 days.
- You have your period less often than once in 35 days
Even if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there is no need to worry. In most cases, irregular periods are due to hormonal balance caused by improper lifestyle and diet. Let’s explore what Ayurveda says about the menstrual cycle and menstrual health.
Ayurveda’s take on menstrual health
Ayurveda provides with immense knowledge and insight into women’s reproductive system which helps us understand how to overcome irregular periods naturally. The menstrual cycle is considered a blessing as it provides women’s body a chance to renew and eliminate the toxins.
Ayurveda suggests that the menstrual cycle of every woman is influenced by the three doshas - Vata, Kapha, and Pitta. By understanding the dominant doshas in your body, you can make the required changes in your diet and lifestyle to help maintain a regular menstrual cycle.
What causes irregular periods according to Ayurveda?
Apana Vata is the ayurvedic subdosha of Vata that governs the menstrual cycle. It is located in the lower abdomen and is responsible for the downward flow through the intestines, urinary and reproductive tracts. The imbalance of this particular dosha is responsible for irregular periods according to Ayurveda. Stress, improper diet, long-term illnesses, lack of physical exercise, over-exertion and certain medications result in such an imbalance of Apana Vata.
In some cases, irregular periods are caused by complex underlying conditions like Ectopic pregnancy, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, Anemia, Anorexia or Thyroid. It is also common to experience irregular periods just at the onset of periods (during puberty) and during the pre-menopause phase. In all conditions, one can find some relief by following an Ayurvedic lifestyle and diet.
The Ayurvedic Approach
Ayurveda emphasizes on following a regular and healthy diet that is rich in nutrients. If one doesn’t eat at regular intervals and at proper hours, the hormone levels fluctuate which in turn affects the menstrual cycle. During menstruation, one must stick to lighter meals and avoid meat, pickles, and sweets so that the digestive system functions well and doesn’t create further discomfort.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly throughout the month. Yoga is most effective in regulating the hormones and menstrual cycle. Exercising regularly also helps in maintaining weight which is also important to maintain a regular cycle. Sudden loss or gain in weight directly influences the menstrual cycle.
During menstruation, provide yourself with proper rest. Exerting yourself during menstruation can be harmful to your health. The traditional wisdom of resting during your menstrual cycle holds strong for having a healthy hormonal and uterine balance.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Irregular Periods
- Ashoka - Ashoka is the queen of herbs for the female reproductive system and the literal meaning of the word ‘Ashoka’ is the ‘remover of sorrows’. The decoction made from the bark of Ashoka tree is effective in treating irregular periods. To prepare the decoction, 10 grams of the bark of Ashoka needs to be boiled in 2 cups of water until only about a cup remains. Honey or jaggery can be added to decoction to make it easier to drink.
- Sandalwood - Decoction of sandalwood roots or leaves is also helpful in treating irregular periods. For best results, add the decoction to cow’s milk and drink it daily.
- Hibiscus - Hibiscus flower has a lot of medicinal properties that are beneficial for the reproductive system. One way to consume hibiscus is in the form of Hibiscus tea. The relaxing herbal tea works like an Ayurvedic tonic for irregular periods. Another way to include hibiscus in the diet is to fry two flowers in ghee and take them with warm milk daily.
- Licorice - More popularly known as Mulethi, licorice is effective in regulating the menstrual cycle when consumed with rice wash water. Another way to reap the benefits of licorice is to drink tea made from its roots.
- Asafetida - Asafedita (Hing) is well-known for its benefits to the digestive system and hence it’s added to the preparation of most meals in India. However, few people are aware of its benefits to the female reproductive system. By stimulating the production of the female hormone progesterone that increases blood flow to the uterus, it regularizes periods and regulates the menstrual cycle. One great way to include Asafedita in the diet is to add it with buttermilk.
The female body is truly unique and beautiful. If we align it to its natural cycle by following a good lifestyle and diet, we can alleviate ourselves from problems that are caused by hormonal imbalances. Ayurveda provides with solutions that really work at the root level to solve the problem of irregular periods naturally and we have equipped you with some of them to help you on your way towards balance and health. Hope you find these tips helpful for regulating your menstrual cycle.